Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Friday, April 22, 2011

An Interesting Point of View

This week my Ministry Assistant Dorothy Jentgens shared from a conversation she had with her 83 year old mother.

My mother is pushing 83 and pooh-poohs the idea of “green” and recycling saying she has been doing it since she was a young woman and society made her stop.

Her case:

She never used disposable diapers but washed out the diapers we used when we were small and sent them to the diaper service who washed and sanitized them and returned them all folded neatly. Same goes for disposable bottle liners. No plastic in the garbage for her! She used glass bottles and sterilized them on our stove.

We had a milkman. You washed out the GLASS containers and put them in the milk box. He delivered milk in those containers after they had been taken back to the dairy and sanitized thoroughly by the company. No plastic in the recycle.

The same thing happened with soda. No cans, glass. You rinsed them out and returned them to the grocery and then they sanitized and refilled and were back on the grocery shelves the next week. The kids had fun looking at the bottoms of Coke bottles to find out where they came from because Coke had bottling companies in every state and they marked the city of origin on the bottles where they manufactured them.

Most clothing and laundry was hung outside for natural drying. What a great smell! No BTU's used in that process while a dryer spun your electric meter around.

Garbage was taken to the outside trash can in a wrap of newspaper and two paper grocery bags inside one another. Oh look, no plastic.

She had a vegetable garden for fresh vegetables and by that garden you kept a “kip” where you composted for that garden. That compost was mostly our grass clippings, potato and other vegetable and fruit peels, bush and tree clippings, leaves and dog droppings picked up from our yard. She had the most wonderful tomatoes ever. Organic, anyone?

Some lessons I take away from this conversation:

1. There is much to be learned from our elders. We sometimes think that those who are older are of little value. Their experience, wisdom and insight are often invaluable. Take time to build relationships with those who have lived longer than you. It will benefit you for eternity.

2. Newer is not better. The spirit of the age seems to be “throw out the old, to make way for the newer and the better.” Newer is not better, better is better. The automobile industry has taught us this lesson over and over again.

3. People can still contribute whatever their age. Most of us tend to write off those who have “slowed down” in life. Many of our greatest steps of progress have been instigated by those whom were deemed “over the hill.” Do not allow your age to cause you to cease to have input in and be active in our society.

4. There is no substitute for experience. We place high value on education and youth and then to our detriment ignore the value of experience. While education is valuable and youth is a blessing nothing can replace having been there and having done that. Most of the population under 50 has not shared the experiences Dorothy’s mother spoke of.

Having said this we are also wise to not reject that which is new and different simply because it is new and different. This spirit would cause us to still be living in caves and warming ourselves by the fire. As we face our future it would seem wise to recognize that we need not reinvent the wheel while we do pursue ways to make the wheel more efficient.

Thank you to Dorothy’s mother for her wise insight.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“No matter what age you are, or what your circumstances might be, you are special, and you still have something unique to offer. Your life, because of who you are, has meaning.”
~ Barbara de Angelis

Friday, April 8, 2011

Diversity and Cooperation

This generation of Southern Baptists is the most diverse in our glorious history. The diversity ranges from the way we dress to the way we worship to the way we structure ourselves as a church and even reaches into what we believe. While diversity is not always a bad thing it can become a challenging thing.

Of late there has been some discussion of the problems created by this diversity. Some seem to feel that we are headed to some form of division based upon our differences. Allow me to suggest that we should not focus on where we differ but rather on the things which we have in common. We should begin to ask the question “Do we have enough in common to walk together.”

Amos, the prophet of God raised the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Our treasured practice of cooperation is based on our level of agreement or commonality. While I recognize that a gathering of 3 Baptists will offer 4 opinions, ultimately there must be a point of commonality for there to be cooperation.

Baptists have never been and should never be defined by a creed to be signed or a hierarchy to be obeyed. We have willingly chosen to establish cooperative relationships through which find fellowship, training doctrinal accountability and missional expression and activity. This choosing to cooperate has always recognized a level of diversity exited. However, while the diversity existed so did a significant level of commonality.

Our commonality and cooperation cannot be achieved by edict or coercion it must be achieved willingly and by choice. The very concept of cooperation requires working together toward a commonly agreed upon goal.

We must not allow our differences in the way we dress, the way we worship and the way we do church determine our future. We must determine if we have enough in common doctrinally and missionally to walk together into our Christ commanded future of reaching a lost world with gospel. We must not be deceived into believing a mission strategy is at stake or a denominational structure is at risk. We must move beyond that to the reality that the souls of more than 5 billion people are at stake.

I believe we have more in common than we recognize and that ultimately we do best what we do together.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.”
~ Unknown

Friday, April 1, 2011

Heaven Came Down

The songwriter says, “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.” This is my feeling following revival at the Lake Shipp Baptist Church in Winter Haven, Florida.

March 27-30 it was my privilege to lead revival services at the lake Shipp Baptist Church where my dear friend Hilton Davis is doing a wonderful job as the Interim pastor. During these days God opened heaven and poured out His Spirit upon us. Attendance averaged approximately 40% more than the average Sunday morning attendance 31 people received Christ, 18 were baptized, 1 joined by letter and there were 12 public rededications. God gave a genuine spirit of revival. Thank God for the moving of His Spirit.

This is a wonderful church with a great opportunity. Pray that God will lead them to the man He has already chosen to lead them in the future.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“Revive us again; Fill each heart with Thy love; May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.”
~ William McKay

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