Let my people grow

One of the first things you notice at Walt Disney World is the preponderance of “Mickey-shaped” items.  From pencil tops to fireworks, everything seems to consist of two small circles sitting atop a larger circle.  Sometimes, as with shrubbery, the shape is forced upon the item; those in charge simply alter it until it achieves the proper proportions.  Sometimes, as with ice cream, the item is formed inside a mold.  The latter of these can get downright creepy at times.  Forcing a pumpkin to grow in a “Mickey” shape by placing it in a mold in its infancy is … weird.  The desired effect is achieved, yes.  But at some point a living organism has to be allowed to grow in its own direction.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ve just seen one too many Mickeys over the last seven years.

Anyway, striking a balance between fostering growth and channeling that growth has been a bit of an obsession with me over the last 23 years. 

 

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Fellowship

Galatians 6:6 reads, “The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.”  Most of my life I have heard brethren try to cram money into the “good things” category — a questionable association at best, if you ask me.  The better application, and the one more consistent with the letter as a whole, is that we share a bond of fellowship with our teachers.  We owe it to them to display, in words and actions impossible to misunderstand, the debt of gratitude we owe them for ministering to our spirits.

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Perspective

From a distance, my lawn looks great.  Up close, my lawn looks terrible.  Both perspectives are unfair, I think.  It is self-serving and lazy to imagine that a quick glance from the street is how best to measure the quality of my work.  It is self-defeating and depressing to hover over each blade of grass (or weed, or dead spot) and wonder what I did so horribly wrong as to bring on this tragedy.

Perspective makes all the difference.  You’re either a hero or a goat, a genius or an idiot.  Both perspectives are true, and both are lies.

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Real dangers vs. imaginary ones

Hospitals across the country are retheming after a recent study unearthed a startling fact.  Of 250 children surveyed, exactly 250 of them expressed an aversion or out-and-out fear of clowns.  I suppose a generation of administrators raised on Bozo and Ronald McDonald were slow to realize that garishly painted faces were just about the last thing children wanted to see when they were already scared out of their minds.

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Map

My good friend Brad Sullivan showed me the road to the preacher getaway to which I have made extensive reference recently in this space.  But I needed to leave the event early, so I drove home alone.  And I got lost.  As in, I didn’t know which road to get on, what direction to go, or even where to find a decent WiFi signal so my phone could educate me properly.

I needed a map. 

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Gather

When a bunch of preachers gather in a single area, they tend strongly to discuss the things of the Spirit.  Perhaps that is simply to “fit in.”  Perhaps it is to demonstrate our credibility in spiritual matters. Perhaps it is simply because it is what everyone else is doing.  In any case, we look more like preachers when preachers are the only ones in the room.

That can be a result of hypocrisy, and in some instances it probably is.  Maybe some are just going through the motions to blend in with people they admire.  Maybe that’s what I do.  But I like to believe, …

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Serve

Whenever I hear about a restaurant or other establishment that refuses to serve police officers, I always want to ask, “Do you expect them to serve you?”  After all, their service requires them to (at least potentially) put their very lives on the line for you.  The worst that can happen to you by serving them is getting a rotten tip.

It just seems reasonable.  When people put themselves out for you, you should be inclined to do the same for them. 

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My e-mail exchange with Bro. Jesse Winn

I include here a full record of the initial exchange of e-mails between Bro. Jesse Winn and myself with regard to his article, "The Church of Christ: Some Thoughts on Change," and my response, "A Few Words About Change." Follow the links to find the articles in question. I appreciate Bro. Winn's attitude, and I hope to further our discussion in the future.

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A few words about "change"

A Facebook “preachers” group that I somehow became attached to (you social media types know how easily that can happen) brought a preacher in Tuscumbia, Alabama, named Jesse Winn to my attention. After e-mailing Bro. Winn and exchanging a few thoughts and pleasantries, I decided (with his permission) to include his name and a link to the article in question. You can find the article here. I encourage you to read his article with the same prayer, spirit and consideration I ask when you read mine. The gist of his article was this (his emphasis):

I believe that, generally speaking, as a movement, we (the churches of Christ) need to be less afraid of change when necessary and more willing to question things.

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