I have a number of heroic figures in my life. One of them is my dad. I think there are a number of folks that would put him on their hero list, but the biggest reasons I do are ones that most of you would never know.
There was a man I knew to be a contradiction that my dad had the dubious honor to pastor. He claimed to have a ministry on the weekends at the fishing docks of a popular lake. He was almost never actually in church. He was a stubborn, difficult…
Well, he reminded me a lot of the story of Balaam (Numbers 22). He was a prophet that had been solicited by an enemy of God’s people for the purpose of cursing the people of Israel. He just couldn’t do it because God wouldn’t let him. But there was an interesting exchange when he was going along to attempt to help this enemy. Balaam’s donkey was spooked by the presence of an angel – which Balaam could not see. After a couple of serious beatings, the donkey spoke to Balaam.
What the donkey said is not particularly important. Balaam listened because she spoke truth. There is a powerful point to this simple but marvelous account: when God has something to say to us, any old… donkey will do.
This man that reminded me of Balaam’s story was a lot like that donkey. He confronted my dad about the horrible shortcomings of his ministry and proclaimed that he would never set foot in that church again as long as my dad was the pastor. He was right. He never set foot again. But he did roll in once.
Continue reading Any Old… Donkey Will Do
The world of social media is ablaze with controversy this week. I have friends on every side of the current issue – and I love and appreciate each and every one. I appreciate the many and varied opinions. I try to listen and understand the differing perspectives.
Some are harsh and judgmental. Ok, most are harsh and judgmental. We tend to either be condemning of the individual concerned in the controversy or the people who disagree or denounce that person’s choices.
And, believe it or not, I get it. Both sides have some valid points and, most of the time, neither is very compassionate toward the other or is willing to listen.
There are a couple of questions that keep stirring in my mind. First, why is it considered hateful to disagree with someone’s life choices – particularly if they insist on proclaiming those choices to the world?
Secondly, and probably more important for the people to whom I have the opportunity to speak, why would we expect someone we don’t know to listen to our convictions about their lifestyle?
Continue reading Investing My Two Cents
So we went to do laundry yesterday.
That’s no big deal except that our kids that live here went back to school. So Tori and I ventured out, with specific directions, to do some laundry and get some lunch.
In both of the establishments we visited, there was someone there that spoke English to help us communicate back and forth. It was incredibly comforting to find people that were willing to come to where we were in order to help us understand what was being asked or expressed.
I have been, at times, one of those peole who has thought that people coming to my native land should learn the language instead of expecting us to come to them. And, I suppose, it does make a difference when one comes to live in a foreign land. My kids have worked hard at learning the language here and that is indeed an honorable endeavor.
But I have seen the other side just a bit. It’s not about signs and documents. In reality, it’s about serving others.
I want to make something like a vow – to all of those I will have occasion to interact.
I’ll come to you.
I won’t expect you to understand my “christian-ese” and my theological terminology. I won’t expect you to get my cultural references. I won’t expect you to speak my language.
I’ll come to you.
I won’t expect you to wander into the church where I preach. I won’t wait for you to show up for a worship service. I won’t look quizically at you and wonder why you can’t just meet me in the middle.
I may not succeed. I will no doubt fail – many times in many ways.
But I will try with all that I am.
I’ll come to you.
I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:22b-23)