Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Civil Discourse

I can’t say I won’t be happy when the mid-term political election season finally ends after the voting on November 2nd. It seems that with each successive year, candidates from both major parties are increasingly guilty of engaging in personal attacks on their opponents rather than debating the issues themselves or stating in a positive fashion what they hope to accomplish if elected. What ever happened to civil and respectful discourse? Is waging a campaign of non-stop attack ads the only way to seek election to public office today?

Perhaps the negative example of politicians can serve as a positive reminder for us as followers of Christ to be especially careful about our speech and how we choose to communicate with others. We’d be hard pressed to improve upon the exhortation of the apostle Paul in Eph. 4:29 where he writes, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Our world could certainly profit immensely from some grace-filled, edifying speech. We may not be able to censor or control what the politicians are saying, but we certainly can and ought to ensure that our own speech reflects the presence of the Christ who dwells within us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Combatting Acedia

I learned a new word this week as I was reading a daily devotional that I receive via email on my computer each weekday. The writer quoted another author, Kathleen Norris, who has written a book entitled Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life. I had to look up acedia to ensure that I understood it correctly. The dictionary defines it as spiritual sloth, or laziness and indifference in religious matters. A quote from Norris’ book stirred my thoughts even further when she writes:

"It is indeed apathy's world when we have so many choices that we grow indifferent to them even as we hunger for still more novelty. We discard real relationships in favor of virtual ones and scarcely notice that being overly concerned with the thread count of cotton sheets and the exotic ingredients of gourmet meals can render us less able to care about those who scrounge for food and have no bed but the streets."

The quote in turn brought to mind the title of a book I’m currently reading—Adventures in Missing the Point. The constant pursuit of the new and innovative and the deluge of choices that we face daily can certainly cause us to miss what matters most. Norris’ statement about discarding face-to-face relationships with people in our quest to expand our list of “virtual friends” via Facebook and other social networks is convicting. So, too, are her comments about getting hung up on dietary labels of food packages when we’re surrounded by folks who are hungry and homeless.

We can’t meet all of the world’s needs, nor solve all of the crises that arise, but by the grace of God we can do our part to make a difference and alleviate the suffering of others. We need to take our cue from the Lord Himself who seeing the multitudes as distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd, was moved with compassion for them. Let’s resolve not to let acedia win the battle.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Visiting Wyatt Park Baptist in St. Joseph

Life has been fairly busy lately, hence the lack of blog posts. Our senior pastor was attending a course this past week at Fuller, so I had the opportunity of preaching on Sunday evening the 3rd as well as in both services on Sunday morning the 10th. This week I'll be traveling northward to St. Joseph to meet with the good folks at Wyatt Park Baptist Church. They've invited me to share about ChurchNet (the new operating name for the BGCM) and its ongoing partnership with Guatemalan Baptists. Two of their members participated with us last February in our missions trip to Totonicapan and more recently they sent a suitcase full of shoes for the children of the Tabitha Ministry in Guatemala City.

I'm looking forward to meeting with the adult Sunday School classes to share about the partnership and then challenging the church in the morning message to an even greater level of commitment to the work in Guatemala. I'm excited that my weekly prayer partner, a young-at-heart 84-year old,
will be accompanying me. He has also traveled with our church previously to Guatemala.

The day promises to be a busy one as we'll have to hustle back so I can fulfill my responsibilities leading worship and a Bible study at a local care center at 3:00 p.m. After that, it's a missions committee meeting at church at 5:00, followed by worship at 6:30.