This is a weekly series of fiction. You can find the other chapters HERE at my fiction page.
Everyone looked up as the door to the meeting room opened. Dale Adkins stood in the doorway. They all looked at him and smiled. David stood up and walked toward the door, offering his hand to the man he only spoken to on the phone. They shook hands for a second and then walked to the meeting table.
“Dale, let me introduce you to everyone. To your left is Teresa Smith. Beside her is Tom Davis. At the other end of the table from you Bill Johnson. Beside me, here, is Fred McGinley.”
“Good to meet all of you and good to be here today.” Dale sat relaxed and ready to go. Interviews of any sort were a necessary evil.
David spoke first. “Let’s start out with an easy one. When did you come to know the Lord?”
Dale licked his lips. He was just a little dry and wished he had some water. He kind of grinned and gave the answer he always gave, the one that caused more than one person to scratch their heads. “I feel like I’ve always known Him. I’ve been in church all my life and always loved it. I was a good boy and never gave my parents any trouble. I think most people just assumed I was saved. Then, I was sitting in church one Sunday. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with the thought that I was as lost as anyone. I prayed to the Lord and repented. I didn’t really need anyone to walk me through it. I knew what to do. Then I went down at the invitation and made it public.”
Tom had a perplexed look on his face. “You mean no one led you to the Lord?” Tom scratched his chin as he asked the question.
“Well, Tom…it’s Tom, right? I would say that hundreds of people led me to the Lord. Hundreds of sermons and Sunday school lessons. Years of VBS. I didn’t really need anyone to walk me through it. I knew that. But most of all, I would say that the Lord led me to the Lord.”
Tom frowned. “I’m not sure what that means.’
Dale grinned and chuckled a bit. “Tom, some days I don’t either.” Everyone else, including Tom, chuckled along with Dale.
Teresa spoke up. “Tell us about your family.”
Dale sat up a little straighter. “I’ve been married to Melissa for almost ten years. We have two boys and daughter. The boys are Ben and Caleb. Our daughter is Leah, but she is much prettier than the one that was married to Jacob.”
Fred McGinley snorted and worked hard to hold to keep from laughing out loud. He decided that he would ask the next question.
“How did you get into the ministry?”
Dale paused for just a second. Sometimes he asked himself this same question.
“After I came to know the Lord, everything went about the way it was going, except for one thing. I studied the Bible more and I saw things that I hadn’t before. I was always a leader in the youth group, but, for some reason, became even more of one. When it came time for Youth Sunday, I was asked to speak. I prepared a sermon that I thought would take me about thirty minutes to give. It took about ten minutes, but I loved it. I kept getting asked to speak and lead Bible studies. Somewhere along the way I realized that I wanted nothing more than to proclaim the word of God.”
“College was a great time of growth. I majored in Religion, though I hate the name of that major. I interned in a couple of churches. I took a couple of summer mission trips and preached every chance I got. There just wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. After college, I went to seminary. I pastored a church while there. I went ahead and got my doctorate. For the past four or five years, I’ve taught at Covenant and preached when I had the opportunity.”
Dale noticed that Teresa was taking notes on everything. Tom wrote a few things down. Fred nodded and smiled a lot. David watched everyone else’s reaction. He was puzzled by Bill Johnson. He sat there with his hands behind his head and looked at the ceiling.
Tom decided that it was his turn to ask a question. He had been trying to come up with a question for several days. He thought he had come up with the perfect one.
“Are you a Calvinist?”
Dale looked at Tom, framing his response. “Tom, I hope that I don’t answer this in a way that blows my chances here. Let me ask you what you mean by that question. What do you think a Calvinist is?”
Tom turned just a little bit red. “Well, you know, you believe in predestination and stuff.”
“Well, Tom, if you’re asking me if I believe that those God foreknew, He predestined, then yes, I believe that. If you are asking me if I believe that He predestined us to adoption as sons through Christ, then yes, I believe that. I believe the Bible. “
“If you’re asking me if I believe anything because of a systematic theology that is followed by others, then no. If you’re asking me if I have ever tried to convert anyone to follow John Calvin, then no. I follow Christ and try to point people to Christ and Him only. I want Him to glorified through the preaching of the Gospel. I’m not sure if I answered your question, though.”
Tom looked down at his pad and then back up. “I think you answered it fine.”
Bill Johnson chuckled a bit. “I guess it’s my turn to ask a question. What would you tell a guy who has helped cause a lot of problems in this church and just found out that he has a brain tumor?”
Dale close his eyes for just a second. Finally a question that wasn’t normal. He was prepared for all of the normal, churchy questions. This one caused him to pause for just a second.
“Bill, the first thing I would do is find out where that man was in his relationship with the Lord. I would pray with him and hope that he was right with the Lord. Then I would encourage him to go before the church and confess it. Seek forgiveness among the church. Then I would gather the elders and pray over him and anoint him with oil. Finally, I would talk to him and ask him what the prognosis from the doctors was.”
Bill looked at him. “The elders? Don’t you mean the deacons?”
“No, Bill, I believe that there is a huge difference between the elders and deacons. I’m not saying that the deacons can’t be a part of it. But I’m talking about the spiritual leaders of the church.”
“You don’t think the deacons are the spiritual leaders of the church?”
“No, I don’t think that’s their specific role. I think elders are responsible for the spiritual direction of a church. And I think there should be a team of those to work with the pastor. The deacons have their own vitally important role to play. They should be working on the physical needs of the church. Who is taking care of the widows? Who is taking care of the needy? Who is making sure people are doing ok?”
David finally spoke up. “Let’s take a short break. We all may need something to drink. We’ll come back to some more questions and you may have some for us.”
Teresa walked into Betty’s Buy Low and grabbed a basket. She didn’t need a buggy since she was just buying a few things. She only needed to get a couple of things to hold her until she did her big shopping, which wasn’t really big at all considering she only really bought for one. She wondered what it would be like to have to buy groceries for more than herself? She had been doing this way for so long that she wondered if she could even do it.
Teresa headed to the bread first. She grabbed her favorite brand and headed over to the lunch meat cooler. She looked over everything and decided to buy some bologna. There were two ways she liked her baloney, cold or fried, and it had to have a first name. She might fix herself a sandwich and some chips and head to the river. There was nothing more relaxing that eating a baloney sandwich while listening to the river flow by. It was also a great spot to read her Bible and pray.
She headed over to the chips aisle and went straight for the barbecue corn chips. Throw in her favorite drink and she had dinner. She just needed a few more items and she would out of there and on her way home.
Teresa turned the corner and ran right into Tom. She managed to hold onto to everything except her chips. Tom quickly reached down to grab them and handed them back to her. He laughed as he gave the chips to her. Teresa had long thought that he was a nice guy, but she hadn’t really gotten to know him until serving on the search team. Her feelings had been confirmed, as she had found him easy to talk to . She hadn’t met many men like that, who also loved the Lord as Tom seemed to. She had found herself thinking more than once that this was the kind of man she would like to spend more time with.
They chit chatted for a moment when a blonde walked around the corner. She approached Tom with familiarity.
“Tom, will these be alright for dinner?’, the blonde asked, holding a couple of steaks.
Teresa’s heart sank. Had she developed a crush on Tom without realizing it, only to have it wiped out in the grocery store?
Tom answered. ”Sure, those would be great.” He continued on as though nothing had changed.
The blonde looked at Tom and then at Teresa. She listened for a moment before she finally spoke up.
“Hi, my name is Allison. It doesn’t look like Tom is going to introduce us. I’m his sister and he must be ashamed of me.” Allison smiled as she said this, clearly teasing Tom. It seemed they had a good relationship.
Teresa felt a sense of relief, though she didn’t quite understand why given that she and Tom didn’t have anything more than a bit of a friendship.
“Hi, I’m Teresa. Tom and I go to church together and we’re both on the pastor search team.”
“Wow! Tom has told me about that. Sounds like you guys have had a time with that.”
“It has definitely been interesting.”
“Teresa, you ought to come over for dinner. I can grab another steak and we can put Tom to grilling them in a bit. I would love to get to know Tom’s friends. I worry about him a little bit, living away from here. What do you say?”
Teresa looked at Allison and then at Tom. She didn’t really know what to say. She wasn’t used to making spur of the moment plans. Maybe she was getting too settled in her life. It would be fun, plus she would get to spend some time getting to know Tom outside the church.
Tom looked confused as well. He looked at Allison and then back to Teresa.
“Sure,” he said with just a hint of hesitation. ”If you want to come over in about an hour, we should be ready to roll.”
Teresa looked at her baloney and then at the steaks Allison was holding. That seemed like quite the upgrade on dinner for the night.
“Ok, that sounds like fun. Let me buy my steak, though.” She said this to Allison, unable to really look at Tom.
“Nonsense. You’re our guest. You just get your stuff home and come over.” Allison beamed a smile that would light up any room.
Teresa smiled back. “Thanks. Looks like I’m done for tonight then. I’ll check out and see you guys a little later.”
Allison and Tom head back to the meat department, while Teresa headed to the register. Betty was working tonight, as she unloaded her few items. Betty rang up her and gave her the total. She was taken aback a bit by what Betty said to her.
“That boy really likes you, Teresa.”
Teresa had to have had a shocked look on her face. ’What do you mean, Betty?”
Betty just laughed. ”Oh, it was easy to tell. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hadn’t talked you up to that sister of his. His sister just took advantage of running into you to get you over to her brother’s house. She’s trying to play a little matchmaker. It might just work too. How long have you liked him.”
Teresa blushed as she handed Betty a ten. Betty gave her change back, still chuckling.
“Oh, Betty” was all Teresa said as she walked out the door. She walked quickly to her car and got it. Her heart was racing. She realized that she might have to watch her speed limit as she headed home.
Teresa had to get ready for dinner.
This is a weekly work of fiction. You can find other chapters by checking out my Fiction page.
Fred McGinley walked into the meeting room. Maybe it was just because he had been through this so many times. Maybe it was the hurdles and obstacles they had been facing lately. Maybe it was simply that Bill Johnson was the only member of the team that really didn’t want to work with the others. Regardless, it was getting harder to keep going. He wasn’t sure he could keep going. The thoughts of resigning and letting someone younger take his place had crossed his mind on more than one occasion.
David, Tom and Teresa were already sitting there chatting about various things as they waited. They all looked toward him as he entered the room. Teresa beamed at him. She had always seemed to love him and he did too. How many times had she spent the night with the girls when they were young? She was like another daughter to him.
Tom nodded at him. He hadn’t spent a lot of time with Tom, but he liked him. He seemed to be someone who really wanted to live out his faith. He had a good reputation around town. He had never heard anything bad about him at all.
Tom stood and warmly greeted him, shaking his hand. He let Fred sit down before he resumed talking.
“Fred, I was just telling Tom and Teresa that this meeting may be a little different from what we’ve been used to. At least, that’s my prayer. I don’t want to say too much until it’s over, but we may leave a little happier today.”
Fred just took that in and pondered on it for a moment. If it went like it had been he could just resign today. There were other things he could be doing rather than coming to contentious meetings. He wouldn’t hold his breath, but maybe David knew what he was talking about. He would just have to see.
They engaged in some chit-chat for a few minutes. They had all gotten there early. Fred valued arriving early. He always had. This was just another reason that Bill Johnson irritated him. He always wanted to make a grand entrance. He liked having all of the attention on himself. Plus, he didn’t seem to care to keep everyone else waiting.
The door opened and Fred looked up. Sure enough, Bill Johnson strolled in. He walked in quickly and sat down. Fred looked at him and something was different. He tried to place what it was and then it hit him. Bill wasn’t grinning like he normally was.
“Sorry I’m late, folks. I had some appointments earlier today and then had to get with Sharon. Have I missed anything?” Bill looked around at everyone.
Fred checked everyone’ reaction. It was still five minutes before the meeting was scheduled to start. Teresa was looking around at everyone with a slightly bewildered look. Tom seemed to be doing his best to remain stoic, but Fred could tell that he was puzzled by what Bill had said as well. Fred was curious about what was going on. He couldn’t process what was happening. Bill had to be pulling one on him, right? He expected the other shoe to drop at some point during the meeting.
David was the only one who didn’t seem to be surprised and he spoke up. “No problem, Bill. We were just chatting until you got here. Let’s go ahead and get started.”
“David, do you care if I start the meeting? I have something that I need to tell all of you.” Fred had dropped his eyes and was looking at the table. Fred really wondered what was going on now.
“Sure, that will be fine, Bill.”
“Folks, I know that I haven’t been the best team member since we started this thing. In fact, I haven’t been the best church member when it comes down to it. I just want to apologize to all of you for that. I have had something come up that has put all of this in perspective and I realize how wrong I’ve been. I just told Sharon, so you are the next to hear this.”
Fred could almost hear an audible gasp come from everyone. They all just had a blank look on their faces.
“I found out this morning that I have a brain tumor. I’ve had head aches for a while and that’s what has been causing them. I don’t really know much more than that. I have some more appointments scheduled and I’ll know more. But I’m just not sure if I can or should continue on this team.”
They all sat there stunned. Each one of them looked back and forth to each other. Finally, Fred spoke up.
“Bill, I can’t speak for everyone else. The way things have been going, I was thinking about resigning from this team myself today if things went like they had been. Instead, I want us to pause right now and pray for you. Do you mind?”
“Fred, I would appreciate it.” Bill looked up and there seemed to be some moistening around his eyes.
Fred prayed for Bill’s healing and that the Lord would be glorified through the entire situation. He seemed to already be getting praise in the meeting.
David spoke up next. “Bill, I understand you not knowing if you can continue. We have a possibility for an interim pastor that I want to talk to all of you about. If you can’t make it to all of the meetings about it, I understand, but I would love it if you would stay on the team and support it until we make a decision. I think we need to show unity to the church right now. The church isn’t very unified right now.
Bill looked at him. ”That’s my fault. I’ve been causing most of the disunity. Let me talk to Sharon and see if I can work it out to stay on for a while.”
David smiled. ”That sounds great, Bill. Anyone else have anything to say?”
Fred spoke up. ”I do, David. Tell us about this potential interim.”
This is a blast from the past, from around two years ago.
Yesterday I wrote about dreaming. Let’s say that you have now decided to allow yourself to dream. You are pursuing God with all you have and you believe that God has given you a dream. Your dream is to hike the Appalachian Trail, help build a house with Habitat for Humanity, run a marathon, or go on a mission trip. So you wait on the dream to happen. After all, God has given you the dream. He will make it happen for you, right? And you get frustrated because the dream isn’t happening. You begin questioning whether the dream is really what God wanted you to do after all. It just isn’t coming to fruition.
I understand this. I’ve been there. I’ve had this happen and had the frustrations. Why isn’t the dream happening? I think the answer is pretty obvious. God will give you the dream, but you have to do your part to realize the dream. If you want to hike the Appalachian Trail, you had better make a habit of knowing everything you can know about the AT. You had better prepare. You have to do a lot of hiking. You get the right gear for the trip. You do something everyday to make your dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail a reality. Same if you want to run a marathon. You run. You buy the right shoes. You might join a group that will encourage you. You do the small, daily things needed to run 26.2 miles.
In other words, you make your dream a habit. It’s ok to dream, but it’s not going anywhere if you don’t something about it. It will take some sacrifice. Jon Acuff says that you might have to get up at 5:00 am when the rest of your family is asleep. I agree. When you have a dream and want to make it real, you will do whatever you have to do to see it through.
And that ends up being the question, right? Is it really your dream or just something that you think would be nice. The difference is in what you do to make it happen.
What is your dream? Are you willing to do what it takes daily to make it happen?
This is a work of fiction. You can find the other chapters under the Fiction tab.
David got off the phone with Bill Johnston. An ominous feeling came over him. There had been a different tone, a different feeling to their conversation than any other he had ever had with Bill. The usual sense of dread of any meeting with Bill was replaced with a one of concern. He stopped what he was doing and simply prayed for Bill.
David was trying to get things together for the meeting later that evening. He had a couple of calls to return so he decided to get to it so he could focus on the meeting. He had a couple of names to suggest to the team for an interim pastor. He wasn’t particularly excited about them, but trying to find someone to fill in each week was getting a bit tiresome. He, and the church, needed someone to be there each week so they could focus on searching for a new pastor.
David had missed a call from Doug Manis. Doug was a pastor a couple of towns over and a denominational leader. David had been slightly taken aback when he listened to Doug’s message. Doug had indicated that he thought that he might be able to help them with finding an interim pastor and wanted to talk to him. It seemed strange to David that someone like Doug would be interested in the interim pastor a church like theirs.
He picked up his phone and dialed the number. The phone rang for a moment before an answer.
“Hello!!!” David was almost knocked over by the optimistic tone on the other end.
“Hello. This is David Maxwell. Is this Doug Manis?” David wasn’t sure why he felt the way he did. He was almost intimidated. He wasn’t sure if it was because Doug was a pastor of rather large church or because he was a bigwig in the denomination. He also got the feeling that he had heard Doug’s voice before, but he couldn’t quite place it.
“Hi David. Glad you called me back. I’m not sure if you remember me, but I preached at your church a few years ago. I’ve known Donald a long time and he had me there for a few days.”
That cleared it up for David. He remembered Doug now. He had eaten lunch with him and Donald one day during the days he was preaching. It began to make a bit more sense why he was calling, but David was till curious as to what he was up to.’
“Sure Doug. I remember you. You indicated that you might have someone interested in being our interim.”
“I do. Donald told me how everything went down with his leaving, but I know that you have a good church there. I have a friend who the Lord is dealing with. He pastored while we were in seminary together. He has been a professor for a while, but seems to be headed back to pastoring. I think you guys would be a good place to get his feet back wet.”
Doug thought for a moment. The names he had were some of the same guys who seemed to just move from church to church doing interim work. Nothing wrong with that, but he wasn’t excited about them and he wasn’t sure anyone else would be either. One of them had even been interim before Donald had been pastor, so that told him a little something about his age. He wanted someone who could come in and hold things together.
“Well, we really need an interim. None of the names I have really stand out to me. I would love to talk to him.”
“Great. Let me give you his number and you can give him a call. I’ll let him know you will be calling and then I’ll get out-of-the-way. I just wanted to make the connections and then let the Lord work.”
“Sounds great. I’ll give him a call shortly and then tell the team about him tonight when we meet.” David paused as Doug gave him Dale Adkins’ number.
“I think you will be really impressed by him and he would do a great job for you guys.”
“Thanks for letting me know about him, Doug. I hope it works out.”
David hung up and moved forward with some other things he needed to do before the meeting. He wanted to get ready to call Dale in an hour or so. He had a new sense of peace about what was going on with the search team’s situation.
This is a work of fiction. You can find the previous chapters HERE at my fiction page.
Dale Adkins pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot and looked for a parking spot. He saw Doug Manis’ car and quickly parked beside him. He hopped out of his car and walked in. Doug was sitting there with a coffee and paper. He imagined that Doug had been there a while reading and doing his crossword. Doug had been following the same routine since he and Dale had been in seminary together years ago.
Dale ordered a coffee and sausage biscuit, then made his way to the table. Doug looked up and greeted his old friend with a handshake and a smile. They made some chit-chat for a while before Dale finally asked Doug a question.
“So, what was on your mind when you asked me to meet you here. You said you had something on your mind.’
Doug looked at him and smiled, nodding his head. Doug took another sip of coffee and then looked Dale in the eye.
“So, how is the sabbatical going?”
Dale glanced outside and he thought of how to answer Doug. It was interesting how their lives had turned out. Both of them had pastored churches while in seminary. Their paths had diverged when they had graduated. Doug had moved on to larger churches and had become involved in the state convention. Dale had continued on to get his Ph.D and become a professor at a Christian college teaching Greek and New Testament studies. He had happily settled into his role of being a normal churchman, filling in for his pastor when he had the opportunity. He was asked to preach when other preachers were out of their pulpits as well. Recently he had taken a sabbatical from his teaching post and had preached somewhere almost every Sunday.
“It’s been going great. I’ve just spending a lot of time doing research and writing.”
“Yeah. That sounds great. I’ve heard you’ve been doing some preaching.” Doug just looked at Dale and smiled. Doug had constantly needled him since seminary about not pastoring any longer.
Doug just grinned back at Dale. “Yeah, that started right after the spring semester. I took the summer off to coincide with the sabbatical. I’m not sure I’ve had a Sunday where I didn’t preach. So, between that and the writing, I’ve been busy.”
“So, what are you going to do?”
“What do you mean? I’m going to finish up this sabbatical and go back to work.”
Doug just looked at Doug and shook his head. ”Don’t you think it’s time to get back to what the Lord has called you to do?”
Dale just stared outside the window for a while. He didn’t like the question his friend was asking and would have liked to have avoided it.
“How do you know that I’m not doing what the Lord has called me to do?”
“Well, Dale, I think you like teaching. But I think you’re happiest when you are preaching. I’ve heard from too many of your colleagues and other folks over the last few weeks. They say it’s like you’re a different person in the pulpit than what they know. Some even say you’re a better preacher now than when you were pastoring in seminary.”
Dale just stared into his coffee cup. Doug was asking him questions that he had been trying to avoid for weeks now. It was true that he had been happier in the pulpit during the sabbatical. He was enjoying proclaiming God’s word. He was also happy with the response he was getting from the churches.
“Doug, look, I appreciate you being concerned about this, but I’ve built a nice career and ministry to the students. Plus, what would Melissa think about me giving all of that up?”
“Dale, I’m talking to you about a calling, not a job. You’ve got to follow God not a career path. Besides, who do you think called wanting me to talk to you? Melissa knows what you should be doing. She’s been talking to you about his too, hasn’t she? The better question, though, is what has the Lord been saying to you?”
Dale looked from his cup to Doug, back to his cup and back to Doug again. A tear rolled down his cheek. He quickly wiped it with the back of his hand before grabbing a napkin. It was all he could do to keep from bawling at this point.
“You’re right. I’ve been struggling with this for a while now. It’s like the Lord has been telling me for a while that He will not simply be studied, but He will be proclaimed.”
Doug smiled. ”Now, we’re talking. I want to help you. I’ve been praying for this for much longer than you’ve been struggling with it. Let me make a few calls. I know that you probably can’t jump right in. You’re under contract to come back and teach during the spring semester, right. How would you feel about being an interim for a bit. It might be a good way to get your legs under you. In fact, I think I have a church in mind for that. What do you say?”
Dale nodded willingly. ”Sure, that would be great. Let me continue to pray and talk to Melissa about it. Let’s talk again in a few days.”
“Sounds good to me, bud.” Doug agreed.
Both men stood up and shook hands. Dale walked to his car and got in. He headed for his office. He had a lot of praying and thinking to do.
I’ve noticed a trend in Christianity through Twitter and the blogosphere over the past couple of years. It disturbs me and, yes, sometimes I fall into it.
There seems to be this huge desire among many of my fellow believers to be relevant.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t always talk about my faith in these arenas that many of you have met me. I am likely to tweet about my beloved Vols. I may mention the latest movie I’ve seen. I will tell you when Doctor Who will be back on TV (March 30).
However, none of that makes me relevant. It simply tells you what I like.
Many of my fellow brothers and sisters like Mumford and Sons. Several of them got in on them when hardly anyone knew who they were. I hope they still like them. I hope they like them for years to come. I like them because they are really good and I will continue to like them.
That doesn’t make us relevant.
Some of my other brothers and sisters want to take some issues that have been considered sin for thousands of years and make them normal. They seemingly take the opposite stand on so many issues than what has stood as the norm for Christianity since it began.
It seems like they are looking and accepting what is accepted in our culture as what is right and wrong. They want the culture to impact the Church more than the Church to impact the culture.
That doesn’t make them relevant.
What are we do to about all of this?
We should love.
The most loving thing we can do to a glutton is to tell them about their gluttony. We need to tell them that they are sinners and Christ offers the way out.
If someone is an adulterer, the most loving thing we can do is tell them that their adultery is leading them down the wrong path. We need to tell them they are sinners, but Christ offers the way out.
And so on. And so on. You pick the behavior and I will tell you the common denominator.
We are all sinners. Some of us have to be saved from our sin. But those of us who are already recipients of God’s grace carry a responsibility to present the truth so that the others may be saved as well.
Do you want to impact the culture or do you want the culture to impact you?
This is a classic Deuceology post from a couple of years ago.
I don’t know if you watch The Office, but I love it. I don’t watch it every week for some reason, but when I do I find it one of the most amusing, hilarious shows that I have ever watched. I was compared to Michael Scott once by someone I managed on my team. This hurt my feelings immensely, as I don’t see myself in any shape, form or fashion as Michael Scott. There is one character, however, that I do see in myself.
Jim is sort of a wise-cracking, suffering everyone else, doesn’t take anything serious kind of character. He is probably the most competent person in the office he works in (I’m not suggesting that I am the most competent person in my company). If you have watched the show, you know that he is the anti-Dwight.
Recently, Michael Scott has left the company, presumably to give greater attention to his burgeoning movie career. Sorry, got Michael and Steve Carell mixed up there. Will Ferrell played a character that was going to take his place, but was unable to continue due to trying a stunt basketball dunk. Eventually this leads to a search committee looking for the new manager. Jim Halpert is one of those charged with looking for the new manager. Everyone sees Jim as not taking this job seriously. Ryan, another character, tells him to lighten up on the Jim Halpert schtick.
Do you ever find yourself needing to lighten up on your “schtick?”
That scene hit me between the eyes and has been gnawing at me ever since. Why? Because I am afraid that people get tired of my “schtick”. I saw it come out in a meeting the other day. It comes out in my tweets and Facebook posts. Yet, I don’t know if I can change it. I’ve been working on it and perfecting it for twenty-six years now. Twenty-six years ago, I walked into my job at Food City, a grocery store, and was greeted with a, “Hello Lawrence!!!” by Jay Setser. With an ultra-serious response, I said, “My name is not Lawrence!!!” I’ve been trying to not be “Lawrence” ever since. I have eventually evolved (can I use that word since I am a Christian?) into Larry The Deuce.
So there is a war within me. The lightheartedness comes out. The wisecracks are said. The offbeat humor is displayed.
And I hear someone say, “Lay off the schtick every once in a while.”
Jeff Goins recently wrote a blog post that encouraged those of us who read his posts to be dangerous. After all, we write our little posts and, at the end of the day, we want people to read them. We want to engage an audience.
I have thought about that and wondered what being a dangerous blogger looks like. What does a dangerous Christian blogger look like?
Jon Acuff is a dangerous, Christian blogger. I have written several posts about how Jon and I are practically best friends. We hung out for, like, 30 seconds at The Walk in Knoxville, TN last September. We had our picture made together. I need to send that to Jon so that he can put it in a frame and keep it on his desk.
Jon writes a Christian satire blog. He pokes loving fun at us because he is one of us. He laughs at so much of the crazy stuff we do in our churches because he goes to church and has for his entire life. Hey, he’s a PK.
But it’s dangerous. Satire is dangerous. I can’t do it. I tried. I failed. I had to switch churches. (Well, that’s not the entire reason, but it helped move me in that direction.)
I ground my axe for some time, fussing and complaining about what happens in churches and the Church. That didn’t make me dangerous. That just made me negative.
So, now, I try to be a dangerous, Christian blogger. I think about some of the stuff we do. I wonder if we shouldn’t change some of it. And I try to make you think about it.
Sometimes that’s dangerous.
Do you know any dangerous bloggers? Christian bloggers? Dangerous Christian bloggers?
I have not always written this blog or any of my previous blogs for the right reasons. I have used this to grind my personal axes. I have thought it was my responsibility and duty to let everyone know what I thought was wrong and screwed up in the Church and churches. I have even written a few blog posts in the past after someone or something made me angry.
And I am not unique.
I read a lot of other blogs. I check some out just to see what is going on out there in this massive world we call Christianity.
Guess what I find?
I find a lot of angry bloggers.
I can tell that some of them try to hide it. Some of them, at least, don’t try to pretend. They let their readers know every time someone out there writes or blogs something that they disagree with.
A few of them like to take on what I call celebrity preachers and writers. They read these guys books and blogs. They follow them on Twitter. They listen or watch their videos that are posted.
And then they react.
They write their reactions.
They write their rebuttals.
They take on these guys head to head.
I don’t know.
I can guess. But I don’t know their motivation. Perhaps they know this will drive readers to their own blogs. Maybe it’s because they have a book deal and they want to sell books. Maybe it’s because someone will consider them an authority on these subjects and they will get to appear on CNN or NPR.
I don’t know. I don’t know them and probably won’t know.
I wish more of these folks would take the attitude Ronald Reagan did when he ran for president against Jimmy Carter. During a debate, President Carter began stating a position completely opposite of Reagan. I think his hope was that Reagan would get mad and display his temper. What did Reagan do? He laughed and said, “There you go again.”
I wish that my brothers and sisters in Christ would take this attitude more often. If someone says or does something that they don’t like, just laugh and move on. Convince me and the rest of the world of your position instead of fighting someone else’s.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe they don’t have a position worth persuading anyone to. Maybe they just want everyone to be caught up in their outrage.
These folks don’t make me angry. I get a little sad when I read them. They are talented. They have tremendous ability. They just seem angry all of the time.
Do angry bloggers turn you on or off?