Monday, November 20, 2017
Together on Thanksgiving
Father God, as we pause to give thanks for all undeserved favors, withheld judgments, and
the privileges of citizenship in a country exceptionally blessed yet increasingly selfish,
ungrateful, and divided and distant from You, we take nothing for granted; especially
Jesus as we reserve our highest praise and truest thanksgiving for confident living
in the assurance of heavenly life by grace through faith in Him. As with all faith-
filled prayer, belonging and beholden to Him, we pray in the name of Jesus.
Amen and amen and amen!!!
According to tradition, Thanksgiving includes the sin of gluttony, football games of occasional consequences, strategies for beating everybody to the best sales later that day or early the next, and maybe squeezing in some family time to love on each other.
Yes, believers will pray kinda like noted above; but in America today, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and rarely-observed Pentecost are reduced to some kinda emasculated holidays of some kinda spiritually dead winking in faint appreciation for someone somewhere who sometime ago maybe forever not sure nor certain nor really care is at the source of whatever it is that makes us wanna kinda celebrate, uh, whatever.
Just being honest.
Part of that honesty includes the assault on family table talk by those cellulars that are sooooooo obviously more addicting than heroin.
I mean even heroin addicts can put down their needles for an hour of worship in church, funeral home, or...
Father John Pisarcik, who studied with me on one of my worthless degrees, has written three books worthy of our attention: Hard Choices for Christians, Naughty or Nice - Virtue or Vice, and Ramblings of an Old Man.
In the latter, he lamented, "I was at a gathering, in a room filled with adults, and watched two women who were sitting about three feet from each other, not joining the conversation but busy texting. Finally, I had to ask what was so important that they could not be a part of the group. Looking at me in utter bewilderment, they responded that they were talking to one another. Just didn't care for the rest of us to hear so it was easier to text. Part of the group, but not part of it at the same time."
We've seen it in restaurants, worship services, funeral homes, and even around family tables at holidays.
Maybe we need to rename it.
While the preponderance of perspectives tilt left, I subscribe to The Week: The Best of the U.S. and International Media because it does a commendable job of collecting erudite reports and commentary from all ideological perspectives.
The editor's letter is always provocative and penetrating even when not persuasive; especially in the 10/27/17 edition: "A growing number of Americans say their relationships are being wrecked by a seductive third party. Not another person, but something far more eye-catching: a smartphone...studies show that many couples are struggling to balance their love for each other with their love for the iPhones and Androids."
Managing editor Theunis Bates continues, "Even if a phone isn't in use, it can still cause problems. Studies show that simply having a phone out on the restaurant table, for example, interferes with your sense of connection to your dining partner - perhaps because their eyes keep flicking at the device for new alerts, suggesting that piece of technology is more interesting than you."
He concludes, "But that buzz often comes at the expense of genuinely rewarding moments of in-person intimacy, like chatting with a loved one over a morning cup of coffee instead of phubbing them as you scan your Facebook feed...[Scroll down for more on Facebook!]...To communicate meaningfully, we have to learn to put down our communication devices."
I've been getting more and more and more requests for "unplugged" services at worship, weddings, funerals, and where two or three or more are not always gathered in His name.
Simply, before getting on with 'em, the pastor or funeral director or MC or whomever announces something like this: "This is an 'unplugged' occasion as requested by...Out of respect for ___, please raise your cellulars with me, now turn off the power, put 'em in your pocket, and be assured your world will not have ended after the next hour or so."
It might not be a bad idea to unplug during family meals...and start a new tradition on Thursday.
Blessings and Love!
Scratching the Surface
(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Facebook, Frogs, and Faith)
I don’t do Facebook.
While Facebook is like money – just an instrument that can be used for good or bad or ugly with no morality until we attach ours to it – I’m just not into it.
I know myself.
Too easy to kneejerk and vent and brood and bully and…
Reminds me of those old anonymous snail mail letters; for just like Islamofascistnutball terrorists who hide behind masks while doing the unGodly because they don’t have the courage of their convictions and have deleted Matthew 18 from their auto-suggested theology – Oh, how impressive and brave and noble! – such anonymity is from the pit of hell as antithesis to John 3:19-21.
Sooooooo just as I’ve never read an anonymous letter in over four decades because gutless hurlings are not worthy of our consideration, I don’t do Facebook.
From what I’ve heard, and this could be a boon to parents with under-achieving children, behind every successful student is a deactivated Facebook account.
Really, I’ve heard some people spend more time on Facebook than with their wives, husbands, children, parents, and…even you know who.
It’s the Hotel California syndrome: “You can check in any time you’d like…but you can never leave!”
I’m not anti-social networking.
I’m just not anti-idiot networking.
If I did do Facebook, I’d create an account with the name Nobody.
Whenever somebody posted something silly, stupid, superficial, or slanderous, I’d say, “Nobody likes this.”
O.K., before I totally upset yu’uns addicted to it, please recall I’ve already said it can be used for good or bad or ugly and has no morality until people attach theirs to it.
I see lots of good uses for Facebook.
Flirting with women/men other than your wives/husbands not included.
Sharing potty stories not included.
Gossiping and bullying not included.
Sharing embarrassing photos not included.
Sending a picture of a cloud formation over Capron, Illinois that looks like Miley Cyrus not included.
Claiming 4,234 friends not included.
Reeeeeeeaaaaaallllllly, 4,234 friends?
Annnnnnnd if you don’t mind your demographics being stored by advertisers, IRS, NSA, and…
Help us, Rand Paul!
Again, I see good uses for it; like connecting with family and sharing good news.
A pastor was giving a children’s sermon.
He said, “When I say a word, I want you to say the first word that comes into your mind.”
A little boy yelled, “Jesus!”
The pastor asked, “Why did you say Jesus when I said frog?”
Answer: “Because I know you didn’t call us down here to talk about frogs.”
The preceding isn’t about frogs…or Facebook.
It’s about people who say they love Jesus acting like they love Jesus in their treatment of others when they text, twitter, Facebook, voicemail, use money, or whatever whenever with whomever.
It’s about following Jesus’ golden rule of behavior: “Do to others as you wish they would do to you.”
Caution from Jesus: “As you do it to them, you do it to Me!”
Now read Matthew 25 for the consequences of attaching bad behavior to Facebook and…
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!