One of God’s champions was on deck at the home church and sent out a request for people to prayer for him as he prepared his message. I signed up. Frankly, this is an easy one, both for me and for God: the guy is gifted when it comes to presenting God’s word. I knew he’d be great and God would be pleased.
Then, smarty-pants here sent him a text: showing up Sunday to see how God has answered my prayers. It’s a drive that takes about 90 minutes; I miss my church family and long to worship with them in that warm, familiar place so I took my seat…next to his wife…and was led to God’s dais through great music and worship. Then, my friend took his place and brought the message.
Of course it was great. Well-organized, skillfully delivered. And, BOOM. A kernel just for me. That’s the OTHER Big C: Conviction. For those of you who walk with God, it does not surprise that He tugs, nudges, smacks or flattens His children to get their attention. These days, with fewer distractions, I get the nudges most often.
Morgan’s text was I Cor. 5. Flipping through that mental file, I remembed that the Corinthian church had some major problems and Paul wrote this letter to address those problems. There’s a lot about how the church should handle members who practice various sins. The book is a 1st century National Enquirer except it was not widely published. It was in-house. And that’s where the nudge came
Morgan directed us to I Cor. 5:10 in the context of dealing with practicing sin within the fellowship….10 “But I wasn’t talking about the immoral people in the outside world by any means – or the greedy, or the swindlers, or people who worship false gods – otherwise, you would have to leave the world entirely.”
And then, he reminded us that there’s a lot of acrimony these days for Christians in the wider culture and suggested that we dial it back with the judgment statements outside of the club.
So that brought me some clarity about a situation I had found myself in a few weeks ago:
I got in a tussle with some folks on Facebook that left me sad and unsettled; I needed to find a way to avoid another incident.
Ok: Facebook….it means different things to different people. In my case, I’m able to connect with folks of so many backgrounds. There are my retired-teacher friends who are scattering farther away; there are former students from several key graduating classes…late 70’s, mid-80’s, late ‘80’s and then recent graduates who invite me into their families and lives. Then there are my DMZ pals and others who found me through this blog or through Mike’s illness.
Some wax political. Some want me to follow some links to other’s positions. Some just want to enjoy life. And, like many, I bet, I got into the habit of ‘liking’ and posting, without too much thought.
I’m guessing some PhD candidate will study social media and its effect on discourse: what I know for sure is that a long lament of mine….that schools were moving away from literature study to embrace math and science…has implications here. We don’t take time to mull the metaphor…to stop, think, consider a word or phrase. And in social media-ville, many just put it out there without stepping back for a few thoughtful moments.
In the years before I retired, we had several incidents of kids getting off the school bus in the morning, ready to fight because of something someone had posted. I noticed that some posters complain about how mean their chosen ‘friends’ are on line. I see that quite a few of my younger friends are closing down their Facebook page. For me, mostly, it’s a place to stay connected and it’s harmless.
However, a few weeks ago, a friend posted something about ‘free will’ and ‘Christianity’ and that we are free to live as we choose. Oh. I should have let it go but I did not. I thought I was gentle and I thought I sent a private message. Neither, it seems, was true. What followed was the slings and arrows that come to those who disagree. I should have just stopped reading but it was a little like a traffic accident…..and when someone took a direct shot at me (Obviously, Lynne has not read the book of Mark), I just HAD to defend myself.
I stepped away, beaten and sad that there are some young people out there who have been wounded by judgmental believers.
The Big C for me: step back from such forums and just become a positive poster. A little candle of God’s love without the doctrine. So, from now on, as Morgan suggested, I will tell stories about what God has done for me and for friends. God is alive, we know. We all have stories about how He demonstrates His love and care. In my case, that’s what I’m supposed to write about.