Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Scapegoat

I am still cleaning up from the water that flooded our basement. Cardboard file boxes got wet and had to be sent to recycle. Now I am sorting and deciding what to save and what to discard. Today I found something that I have not seen in twenty years. Many years ago at a church assembly a pastor was passing out little plastic goats that he called “scapegoats” to help people focus their angers on that little scapegoat rather than other people.

It seemed like a good idea at first but then people began to think about what that means. It makes that little piece of plastic shaped like a goat an idol and it also does nothing to relieve our feeling of anger. It was pointed out that we need to really face our causes of anger and pray for help in solving our causes not transferring them to a plastic idol.

That toy goat is now missing its horns and is going to a place where future archaeologist will dig it up and wonder “What is this?”

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Drug Company Niaspan ads

I have been taking Niaspan for ten years to raise my HDL to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

A few weeks ago I began to notice a lot of TV ads for Niaspan which is a very expensive drug. Those ads came out in advance of  a study about the effectiveness of  the drug that proves it is not effective for reducing heart attacks and strokes. I bet the drug company knew in advance of the ads that the study results were about to be released.

Now what do I do? I am waiting for my doctor to investigate and advise me. This drug has unpleasant side effects and if it is not doing me any good I want off of it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Most Sacred Moment

The church was silent except for the occasional sound of plastic communion cups being returned to their trays and deacons moving from pew to pew. The quiet was broken suddenly when four year old Amanda shouted, "I want some refreshments too, mommy." How do you tell a four-year-old that it's not refreshments but a sacred act of worship?

After worship Amanda's grand mother and I took her back to the church kitchen where we gave her a piece of the communion bread. It was a stale hard cracker.  Amanda's reaction was a turned up nose and "Why do you eat that?" After the bread she had no desire to try the juice.

          Our communion service every Sunday is for me the most sacred part of the Christian worship service.  In fact it is the one part of Christian Worship that is different from the other two religions that worship God. The elements of our worship service are very much the same as a Jewish synagogue except for communion and reading the New Testament.

Understanding what we are doing is as important as why we are doing communion. It is not the actual bread and cup but the condition of our awareness when we eat and drink that makes the difference in how sacred that moment is for each of us.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Timing Worship

We have a man at church who is of the opinion that God only wants worship services to last sixty minutes. He gets that idea from his memory of worship when he was a child. He is not happy that our worship service usually last about an hour and a  half and each Sunday he spends the worship time recording the time for each section of worship.

According to him the congregational prayers should only take two minutes and the sermon ten. He was in shock when I told him that my first preaching professor told us that a preacher who preached for less than thirty minutes was NOT doing his job. In the early days of our country Sunday worship often lasted four hours in the morning and another three in the afternoon. Things have changed. People today have had their attention span reset to television’s ten minute segments. It use to be fifteen minutes but more commercials lessen the time available for program.

My friend in church is missing the point of worship by being focused on the time it takes. Our worship is so good that for me the time flies by because my soul is involved in the act of worship. His time goes at a snails pace because he is focused not on worshiping God but on keeping track of minutia. When you spend your worship time – timing worship – you miss out on God’s time and the joy of praising the Lord.