I don’t know about you, but I grew tired of the culture wars some time back.
You know what I mean, don’t you? The culture is going to heck in a hand basket. So what are we going to do? We’re going to protest this. We’re going to boycott that.
Best that I can tell, none of it worked.
The denomination I used to be a part of encouraged all of us to boycott Disney years ago. How did that work out? Well, I watch Marvel movies, ABC television and last year went to Walt Disney World. We’re contemplating going on a Disney cruise next year after both of our kids graduate.
Somewhere in there I realized that it wasn’t working. So what does work? How can we change the culture? After all, it desperately needs changing.
We aren’t going to change it by raising a ruckus. The culture won’t change by making a scene.
It’s going to change by changing one heart at a time.
It’s going to happen by when people are changed.
How it that going to happen?
By loving people. By being there for them. By not abandoning them. By showing the that you care.
Just the opposite from boycotts and protests.
How are you going to change the culture?
If someone asked me how I have raised two perfect children, my answer would be simple.
I didn’t. I havent. They aren’t.
That doesn’t mean that they aren’t great kids. They haven’t caused their mom and me a moment of real heartache. They are really good kids.
Sometimes people will comment to us how really good they are. Eventually they will ask how we have managed to do such a good job. I’ll joke around and say that it’s because of their mom. That is certainly a huge part of the reason. I hope that I played a part too. However, it really boils down to one major thing.
We listen to our kids.
Several years ago, when Lauren was in elementary school, she asked Jan a question about why she was older than a school mate’s mother. This led to a discussion about how sex works.
Jan could have beaten around the bush about it, but instead used it as an opportunity to build her relationship with her daughter. We have had countless opportunities to do this with her since, as well as with Andrew.
These have been opportunities for us to draw closer to our children. Instead of pushing our children away, we have built our relationships over years. Our children, in turn, listen to us and take us seriously because we have listened to them and built those relationships.
How have we raised perfect children? I laugh even writing that sentence. To sort of quote the country group Alabama, though, they’re “close enough to perfect for me.” I look forward to watching them continue to grow over the next few years. It’s going to be an exciting time.
Are your children as perfect as mine?
Who is your best friend? Do you have one?
I have struggled with this all of my life. I had a few best friends when I was young. I didn’t for a while and then I did when I was in college.
What about now? Do I have one? As a matter of fact, I do. I talk to this friend every day and we have lunch fairly often. We do a lot of things together. When I have something that is truly bothering me, I can count on this friend for the support I need. Who is it, you ask?
This is the way we were created to be. My wife and I are opposite in so many ways. If you graphed our personalities, they would be almost a mirrored reflection of each other. She is super organized and I am not.
The thing about it is that, like Rocky Balboa said, “I’ve got gaps. She’s got gaps. Together, we fill gaps.”
Now some of you may be taking me to task, tisk tisking a bit right now.
Isn’t Jesus my best friend?
Jesus is my Lord. He’s my Savior. And He is a friend. But I’m not sure that He wants to be my best friend. I think that’s why He gave men and women spouses.
In the beginning, God created a woman for man. Man needed that. Man needed someone who could back him up. Someone who would be his best friend.
Is your spouse your best friend?
It’s been a crazy week. A couple of snow events and some white knuckle driving happened. Thankfully it’s over and March is just around the corner.
My kids were bored so we pulled out the Aggravation game the other night. Are you familiar with this game? I’ve been playing it all of my life, but I’m not sure about its recognition among others.
Aggravation is a game where each player has four marbles. You start out in home base. A roll of the dice, make that die, that ends in a six or a one and you get out. You go around the board trying to make it to safety. Once there, no one can get you out.
It struck me, as we played, how much the game of Aggravation is like life. You wait until you have your moment. You chase your dream. Others can affect your standing. You can win, fail, win and fail again.
Then there is the safety factor.
Once you make it into safety, no one can harm you. You can no longer lose out. You can’t be removed from the safety spot.
Some people won’t agree with me on this. Believe it or not, some folks’ theology doesn’t line up with mine.
I believe Christ is our safety spot. He is our goal. He is where we are, but also where we’re headed. If we have come to faith in Christ, of course.
Once we come to that faith, we can’t lose it. Nothing, no one, can remove us.
Sure, life can be an aggravation. It can be full of stress and ups and downs.
But Christ is our safety spot.
Do you know the game of Aggravation?
The original forecast for was for some brief and minor snow yesterday. It really wasn’t supposed to do much. However, the best laid plans of mice and men, you know.
So I woke up at my normal time of 4:30 a.m. Yes, that’s the time I wake up almost everyday, whether I like it or not.
School was out, so Jan decided to stay home. I headed out so that I could stop and get some gas. Just a couple of miles down the road, I got the word. Work was delayed until noon.
I turned around to go home. The roads were terrible and I thought it might get better as the day went on. As I came back home, I climbed the hill toward my home sideways, barely avoiding getting stuck. The snow continued until it got worse and worse instead of better and better.
I decided to stick it out at home and work from there. I was able to help those of my team who made it by logging in from home.
Now, I had the choice. I had a decision to make.
I could let the situation completely throw me off my game. I could let myself get down because my schedule was off kilter. I could complain about the snow and ice.
Or I could just praise the Lord. Not for anything in particular other than the Lord being good.
It really comes down to that in life. The Lord is good. In all of our circumstances. Good. Bad. Indifferent. The Lord is good. In all of the snow, while my truck was sideways, when I warmed up from coming in, the Lord was good.
I have to remind myself of that sometimes. I forget it, like so many others do. Like the Israelites would forget how the good the Lord was in bringing them out of Egypt, I forget.
So, yesterday was just another snow day, but not really just another snow day.
Do you ever forget how good the Lord is to you?
I reserved some movies from Redbox the other day. I went to get them, only to find that the kiosk was completely shut down. I was unable to get my movies, meaning that I would soon be charged even though I could not get them.
I quickly emailed Redbox. The reply was that they would refund my charge and give me a couple of credits for my inconvenience. All in all, a good customer service experience.
It makes me wonder if we should be customer service oriented in the church. Or if we are. And if not, what does that look like?
Some naysayers might say that we would take God and the Spirit out of the church if we do that. We might become so focused on the “consumer” that nothing spiritual is left. Those are certainly some concerns, but only if we take it too far.
For example, are our nurseries so exemplary that no one would hesitate to leave their baby in them? Parents are pretty particular about where they leave their children.
How about the bathrooms? Are they clean? Would anyone hesitate to actually use our facilities? Is our toiler paper a fine grade of sandpaper?
We could think about a million other ways that we could view customer service, but it really comes down to one word.
Within the church, love is the definition of customer service. Do we love Christ so much that we will put others before ourselves? Let’s face it, we have all experienced bad examples. We have all probably faced someone’s glare, or worse, when we took “their” pew. In fact, you’ve never seen the bad side of this until you’ve actually been asked to move out of someone’s seat.
So, no, focusing on others does not take the Spirit out of our gatherings. In fact, it may leave more room for the Lord than anything else we do. When we love others like we love ourselves, we display the best form of customer service possible.
Does your church have good customer service?
We watch a lot of movies in our house. One we had been interested in for a while was Gone Girl. It seemed interesting and had gotten a lot of good reviews, so we thought we would give it a try.
The basic story is that a man, Nick, comes home one day to find his wife, Amy, missing. He immediately calls the police who begin their investigation. Nick goes from sympathetic figure to main suspect as the movie unfolds. We find that Nick and Amy were not in a happy marriage. Both have serious issues that cause their marriage begin to fail. We find out that Amy began a plan to leave the marriage which leads to the main point of the story.
Neither Nick nor Amy are good people. They aren’t the kind of people who most of us would really like. They have serious issues that they need to deal with, but are never truly resolved in the movie. In the end, Nick and Amy are back together, but not in the way that would really suspect from the beginning.
Gone Girl reminds me of the kind of movie that Alfred Hitchcock would make if he was around today. Many of the plot twists would make Hitchcock proud. The movie has adult language and adult situations, so definitely don’t watch it with children. I give it a 3 out of 4 Hollers.
Have you seen Gone Girl or do you plan to see it?