The Death of Hope – Robin Williams

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Are You Okay?

My husband and I were out enjoying our boat. We had to slow it down when we came across other boats, people in rafts and kayaks. Etiquette, when out on a boat is to wave to those you pass by. I remember seeing two women in a raft. We waved and they waved back. They seemed to be going nowhere, but who were we to second guess how people were enjoying the water. They said nothing and neither did we. My husband was anxiously trying to get passed the slow pokes so he could go full throttle. Some half hour later, we doubled back to go in another direction to head towards the beach when we saw the same two ladies. I called out, “You guys doing okay?” One of the ladies said, “No.” Humbly, she said that they had been out there for awhile going in circles. They just couldn’t get the hang of things. We grabbed their ropes and pulled them to shore.

I think about this as I reflect on the passing of Robin Williams, one of America’s finest comedians. I was saddened to hear that he had committed suicide and that he struggled with depression. I believe it was T.D. Jakes who once said that ‘suicide’ is the DEATH of HOPE. Williams had also been recently diagnosed with the beginning stages of Parkinson Disease which probably compounded his depressive disorder.

Theologians – Making Mountains out of MoleHills?

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This blog addresses a few criticism I received on a play I wrote and produced called, “The Cup.”  The drama ran on Thursday and Friday of Holy week (Easter).  This year marked its second year in production.  I am thrilled to report it was packed house on both nights.

The play depicted Jesus time and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I unpacked the figurative ‘Cup’ that Jesus asked God to remove from Him – exploring the types of sin that was in each of the cups with special attention given to the last cup that brought Jesus down to His knees making Him sweat drops of blood.

God really showed up as we attempted to display Jesus’ love, His compassion and ultimate sacrifice for you and for me.

Of course there is always a critic – and that’s okay!

Now let me say it this way, I (we) received many compliments about how great the production was.  It warmed my heart, as well as the cast of plus 60 and all those who worked behind the scenes.

But there were those who found fault with the production.   Let me me first say that “We won’t grow if everyone is constantly saying to us, “How Great Thou Art.”   You can not improve upon perfection because perfection is the ultimate. And I admit I am no where near perfection.

Constructive criticism is always helpful because the motivation behind it is that the person really wants to see you do better.  But then there are what I call  ‘Modern Day Pharisees – MDPs.’ In biblical times Pharisees gave Jesus a hard time rebuking Him for not washing His hands, not making His disciples fast or healing people on the Sabbath Day.

In other words, they were sweating over the small stuff!

The Bridge – A Father’s Sacrifice

“Father, take this Cup from Me…”

Some of you know that I write and direct skits and drama productions.  My most recent production was called, “The Cup.”  The drama was centered around the Garden of Gethsemane and depicted the struggle between good and evil.

We explored from an allegory point of view just what could have been the contents of these cups that Jesus asked God to remove from Him.

The goal was for those sitting in the audience to see not only their sins before them, but to also witness firsthand Jesus’ initial struggle with the prospect of Calvary.

2 Videos Designed to Set the Stage

I had two videos I wanted the congregation to see before starting the production.

Because of some technical difficulties I had to download them again. One of videos I wanted to show right before the production started.  It was entitled, “The Bridge.”

This clip was used to set the stage showing the audience the REAL cost of sacrifice, especially to those unaware of what was done just for them.

Balance: Spiritually-Minded and Still Earthly Good

So spiritually-minded NO earthly good

So spiritually-minded NO earthly good

I was in a leadership workshop where we were learning how to run a church board more effectively when the instructor had on one of his slides that we should consider including a 20 minute Bible study AND incorporate “Christian Language” in our meeting format.

He further went on to say that the meeting format should be inclusive of 3-parts.  One part dealt with Call to Community, the other Call to Holy Conversation and the other Call to Serve.

Okay, I could see a need already for a legend and that’s a problem.

Although I understood his intent and as Bible teacher myself, I know all to well the value and impact of the Word, but I could not help but speculate whether this was the right setting for such an elaborate format.

A relevant scripture directly relating to the business of the church and opening prayer, in my mind seemed to be sufficient.

Regarding the Christian language, I just wanted to pack up and run out screaming. I feel like some times with all the Christian lingo – we end up getting “Lost in the Sauce.”

There is a saying that comes to mind –

So spiritually minded that we are no earthly good

Let me give two examples:

Example one:

You have a job description for your custodian, it includes a statement to remind him that he is an ambassador of the Lord and that it is a honor to clean up God’s house and you further say, that like praying, giving offerings, preaching the word; cleaning and up-keeping God’s house is yet another form of worship.

Of course, there are three more paragraph highlighting how spiritual the job is and that it is important for the person to support the ministries of the church.
Then finally, you get to the specifics of the job, which by the way, may only be a three lined paragraph that can be summed up this way, “It’s a part-time job where you will be performing general cleaning and light maintenance tasks throughout the church.”

While we emphasize the spiritual, look what we have missed:

  • Is it his/her job to also clean annex building(s)?
  • Does the cleaning include having to clean windows?
  • Exactly what is part-time 10-20-32 hours a week?
  • Who do they report to?
  • Where’s the vacuum and where’s the trash bags?

Second example:

True story. We had an event at our church where someone cut their head on a shelf in the bathroom.  All we needed was some Neosporin and a band-aid.  It took 15 minutes and having to break through three levels of security just to find a band aid.Practical Spiritual

I’m just saying, we have to balance that which is spiritual with that which is practical and not ignore the specifics of a job or a system lest our church custodians define their own expectations as to what cleanliness is while someone bleeds to death in the church lobby while we try to find a band-aid.

By the way the class was great.  I’m glad I stayed in there for I would have missed out on a lot of good stuff.  And as God is so perfect in all of His ways, I didn’t have to say a thing because a retired colonel from NSA spoke everything that was in my head. Hallelujah!

Plus he added, “Sir, using your recommended model, when do we finally handle the business matters of the church?”

Do you have Bible study before your church board meetings? If so, how long?  And just how much “Christian Language” is spoken at your meetings?

 

 

 

The Sisterhood Reality TV: Preachers’ Wives Behind the Scene

The Sisterhood Reality TV: Preachers’ Wives Behind the Scene

I just reviewed the trailer for the upcoming show called, “The Sisterhood.”  It is a Reality Show about the lives of Preachers’ Wives. Although I am not a die hard reality show ”groupy,’ I must admit that while washing dishes, I have tuned into a few shows and have found some of them entertaining.

I received a personal invite from one of the male pastor’s to review the trailer.  After reviewing the trailer I wrote back and told him that I was a bit fearful, but that I was intrigued and would be tuning in Jan 1, 2013 on TLC Network @9PM.

These type of shows, like anything else, can have some advantages as well as some disadvantages. There is no doubt in my mind that the backlash will soon begin from the Christian community, especially as the debut date draws near. This is why I said I was a bit fearful.  If you don’t know anything about this community of believers, it is that we can be very critical and very judgmental AND have a loud voice in expressing our opinions. And of course to the unbeliever, again it shows us as divisive.

A Sneak Peek

It looks as if the main theme behind the show is to let us view what is going on behind the ‘curtain.’ We are getting a peek into the intimate lives of these preachers’ wives: their habits, their hangups, their responsibilities, their past, their feelings, their frustrations and their joys.

The trailer clearly points out that preachers’ wives can run from being very conservative to being very radical.  We see a clip where one of the wives is getting a tattoo. An argument breaks out between a two of them and there is an expression that “It is so hard to be a preacher’s wife.” Clearly these five women want us to see things from their perspective and for that I reason I will be tuning in.

Advantage

I know 20 something years ago we started a weekly women’s ministry. One of the things we found was when a woman finds out she is not alone in dealing with some issues, it aids in healing and aids in coping.  People would open up about their lives and would share what they did to get past some things.  This was so beneficial.  Knowing that you are not the only one, can liberate people and give hope.

Perhaps this show will do the same, but on a larger scale. Perhaps the show can be a blessing especially to other first ladies and to the greater body perhaps we can pray more for our first ladies and demonstrate our appreciation for their ministry as we may begin to understand the pressures they may be under.

Disadvantage

As a Toastmaster, I have to ask the question, who is the REAL ‘targeted’ audience?  If it is regular congregational members, will they be edified by the ‘peek’ behind the curtain? If the target audience is ‘other pastor’s wives,’ will they  be liberated and healed?   If the target audience is for the general public, will week after week be enough to keep everybody tuned in or will the network cause the five preacher wives to compromise standards for ratings? hmmm….  just some thoughts.

Could we be giving the world another opportunity to mock and laugh at the church? hmm… Will we be contributing to the world’s view of the church not looking any different from them? hmmm….  Only time will tell. Either way, I have learned to ‘Eat the meat and throw away the bones’ so we will see.

I will be conversing about the show on both my Facebook and my Twitter page so stay tuned.