There are approximately 30 posts remaining from my original blog before going live with 2016. It is my intention to post them each day this week until Friday January 1, 2016 launches a new chapter in the unexpected journey. Hopefully the site will see some much needed improvements including excerpts from a manuscript that is in the works. Thanks for following along.
It took longer than expected to complete this post. I wanted to say the right thing without appearing to have a grudge. I trust I have been successful in achieving that. It has been an interesting week. A number of folks who are on their own journeys have indicated that they are now following along in our journey—thank you. There have been some positive movements—things I cannot yet talk about—that have happened in our journey this week. For this I am thankful. The “battle” element that was spoken about last week has certainly intensified. There is one interesting development that has taken place that is on my heart to write about. I must be very careful so as not to appear critical—because I am neither critical or cynical. I agreed to do something because it was the right thing to do—not a desire to do. The obligation is a weekly commitment. (Please understand that I am intentionally being vague so as not to give the appearance of disrespecting anyone). In the first commitment I could not but help notice three distributing things that I had not seen before. They are by no means new; perhaps I was allowed to see them a different way in order to stir my heart to write. I cannot say; but I clearly saw them. The first is how lazy we have become. There was a time in our society that self-respect meant doing certain things because they were the courteous thing to do. Today men no longer appear in public clean-shaven and it is depicted as being manly. Is it because we are too lazy to shave daily? Our public dress code has declined to the point that it can be defined as sloppy—although called trendy. Is this because we have become too lazy to change before going out into public? Is it because our increasing obesity—yet another sign of our laziness–is an excuse to dress so poorly? I once knew a man who would never be seen in public without wearing a suit and tie—extreme to be sure. He would come in from doing yard work, change clothes to go to the store to purchase something he needed to do yard work. I am certainly not suggesting anything close to that; but wearing pajamas to a public gathering is also something I would not expect to be done. The second thing I noticed is how self-absorbed we have become. “Entertain me,” seems to be the banner of the day. It appears that the place with the latest “wow” is the place that gets our attention. It seems that our tolerance for enduring something that we do not enjoy controls us to the point that we quickly bolt once the titillating emotion is gone. The third thing I noticed is how we have become a spectator people. We will come to a place as long as it “wows” us, in virtually any attire—but only as long as we are entertained—sit quietly, laugh a bit then leave. Let me explain a couple of things that will hopefully tie this together. The weekly commitment is to attend a traditional church function. The function we attended was a morning worship service. I assure you that I did not attend looking to find something wrong. You can find something wrong in any thing if you look for it. I tend to be more optimistic looking for the good in something. As I stated earlier, I do not know why these things glared at me so, but they did. The gathering was all right. The music was contemporary and the message entertaining. These three things caused me to wonder why the people were there. Did their casual—to be polite—dress cause them to glean more or less from the talk? I wondered why the guy sitting next to me just got up and left? I wondered if the people that were sitting in front of me were staring off into space or trying to figure out if the back wall on the stage was real or faux? The word that I continually heard was intentional. If you are going to be relevant, then you must be intentional in your approach. I have no issue with planning or having purpose in doing something. There are many scriptures that can be referenced that speak about that. I guess my question was “how” relevant was that gathering for the several hundred people who had gathered? Please do not think that I am being critical—I assure you that I am not. I am certain that the hour and 10-minutes we were there impacted people. My guess would be that it impacted a minority; which beckons the question, why did the majority come? Did they hope to be impacted only to leave disappointed? I did not get that impression. Did they come simply out of an obligation to someone? How intentional was their purpose in attending? You must understand that I spent 20-years of my adult life on the other side of the pew. I know “why” I wanted them to come. I know “what” I wanted them to glean. I know “how” week after week I saw the same faces with the same expressions—that I saw the other day—leave the gathering. I wholeheartedly agree with being intentional. I think in our religious endeavor to be intentional that we might have forgotten that the God and Father of all creation is himself intentional about His creation. Perhaps it would be helpful to focus on that intention rather than making it about our intentionality.