Monday, November 24, 2008

Thought of the day?

So once again...people get needled on a Sunday morning. Here is a quote from the life lesson..."very often the way God would have us go is the most sensible way that we would have chosen anyhow. It is only when God wishes us to depart from the expected that we should look for guidance that is spectacular or unusual. I wonder if the church spends too much time looking for GOD in the bizarre and spectacular and we miss Him whispering at us in the every day?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WORDS! Do I have your attention now?

Take some time to read through Jeremiah and Ezekiel and you will notice that God seems to be saying the word “whore” a lot to describe how He felt about Israel. Wow, God said ‘whore!’ God (through His inspired authors) uses the term many times throughout the Old Testament. If you think of it, the usage of certain words in our culture tend to slap us in the face to get our attention. I wonder if that is what is going on here?

But the usage of strong words by GOD doesn’t stop in the Old Testament. Look at Jesus! In Matthew 23 he calls the religious leaders of the day “snakes!” (Oooooooo that hurt!) Actually, it was a very strong word for that period of time. When you called a person a snake (in this time and culture) it had reference to Genesis 3 and Adam and Eve’s sin. Jesus was calling these people 'devils!' Jesus goes on throughout the gospels and uses many terms to get people’s attention and to rattle their cage. Even Paul in Galatians 5 makes some statements that will make most men blush. Again, I am reminded that he was inspired by GOD to write…right? (2 Peter 1:20-22)

So…God said called Israel a “whore,” called the religious leaders “snakes” and told religious people to basically go ahead and cut it off; so much for the safe, gentle and predictable God that most churches portray.

What is the point? There are times that a speaker is called/impressed/inspired to say things that will shock and offend people…and that is OK. I don’t personally think a speaker should ever try to be shocking just for the sake of doing so, (I have heard my fair share)…but I do believe, according to Scripture, that there are times when controversial and bold statements need to be made! I often feel that I need to warn people and place a disclaimer in at the beginning of the life lesson…why? Because I know that people will be offended by what I am about to say and it is sometimes easier to take when you know it is coming.

I have used strong language or words in the past…and it has caused a stir. I will often hear from people…”I can’t believe you said that!” My response is “The fact is, we all thought it…I just brought it to the table for discussion.” I do not think that as pastors we need to go out and try to shock or offend people on purpose…but if we are faithful in preaching the scriptures then it is only natural that people will be shocked and offended. “Well, Gerry you often repeat yourself as well!” Have you ever thought that you never got it the first time?

Again, I am reminded of the saying that "I am called to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Funny thing is…the comfortable, will always walk away…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Church and Starbucks

I need to thank a friend for the link to this clip! THANKS ROB! Rob is a pastor in Ottawa and has a passion for reaching bikers for Christ! His blog is

Anyway, I made a post on my Facebook a while ago; and in a moment of silliness I posted that "Tim's was the Starbucks of the middle class." Needless to say there were a number of responses on my Facebook and I realized very quickly that many people have no sense of humour! ANYWAY

Watch this...I would love your thoughts...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Personalities BEHIND the Screen

I am one who has a Facebook account, however I am very careful as to what personal information is posted on this trolling tool (

I personally have never taken Facebook seriously but have been intrigued as to how much people personally self disclose. The deeper we sail into the new online world of communications, the sadder I get about its future. I’m OK with criticism, I’m fine with disagreement, I’m perfectly capable of handling angry notes, that’s not the issue here but what’s really stunning is how hostile people are to each other online these days.

The last two weeks, because of imposed boredom of being at a mandatory conference, I needed some fun in my life and began to “update my status” and was amazed at the responses that began to pour in…PEOPLE, Don’t you work!? I began to continue some “status” thoughts with the US election running hard. Again, I am amazed at the responses of people. All of a sudden, I realize that once again, there is etiquette that is needed on the web and that people should not be so serious and personal on such an impersonal sites.

Without question, Facebook is a community of “FRIENDS” but are they really your friends? How many people really know your birthday? How many friend requests does one get from people you do not even know? How many friend requests do you get from people you want to stay away from? Anyway, after the election and messing with people and wanting to be the pope, I thought that should toss out a reminder of internet guidelines and hear your thoughts.

I believe it is important to understand the culture and the community that you are a part of. Every site and community has a different flavor. Myspace is different than FaceBook, Yahoo 360 is different than Linked-In and then add the world of blog spheres. They not only have different technical platforms, they have different personalities on both sides of the controls. One moment you may be having a chat about the latest gadget and political joke on site A, and the other moment you will find insult on answering questions or discussing personal topics.

When you get online, don't try to fake it. There are plenty of people who recognize you from other social circles and environments. What you say online will be noticed in the other circles. It may not be written in the text on screen, but people will take note of places you have long forgotten. I believe that we need to treat people like you were having a face to face meeting. So many people become rude or negative online when they would never do so in the real world. There is a tendency in the web world to make hasty statements or jump to conclusions and coming off like an idiot.

I am convinced that on the Internet, you are anonymous, (to some degree). Since you don’t have to face the person you’re talking to, you don’t see any reason to display courtesy. Because you are somewhat anonymous, you worry that your comments might get lost in the shuffle, so you lay it on thick to enhance your notability.

Many people who spend lots of time online are, in essence, replacing in-person social interactions with these online exchanges (OUCH). With so much less experience conversing in the real world, they haven’t picked up on the value of treating people civilly. That is, they haven’t yet hit the stage of life when getting things like friends, a spouse and a job depend on what kind of person you are.

People used to dream of a ‘global village’ (Marshall McLuhan), where maybe we can work out our differences, where direct communication might make us realize that we have a lot in common after all, no matter where we live or what our beliefs. But instead of finding common ground, we’re finding new ways to spit on the other guy, to push them away. The web makes it easier to attack, not to embrace.

So people, first write your responses or posts in a Word .doc file. This enables you to have a handy reference guide to proper English, grammar and spelling so you really do not look all that stupid. Try and gauge the community before posting. Don't just jump in and shoot off your thoughts. Who is posting? Do they know you? Do you have a relationship off line so that you can further the conversation? Remember the interpretation! We read messages shared in text form based on whatever mindset we are in at the moment. Don’t forget that if I’m in a bad mood, or reading in a hurry I might interpret your sarcastic humor as plain rudeness. Try to remember this reality when you type messages.

People often get grumpy for all the wrong reasons. In a written environment, people often fall prey to a few words that flavor an entire relationship. One brief statement does not make a relationship, nor does it create one. A relationship is made by a consistent level of interaction over a period of time.

Expressing your thoughts are important but make sure what you've written is relevant and encourages people to continue the discussion. Online communities can be amazing tools for making connections for business and personal interests, yet it can also be a detriment to how you are perceived. If you post offensive content, pretend to be someone else (my personal angst), or try to annoy others it can get ugly. It's not worth it and no-one will think you are funny. Have some common decency when you write a post. Don't patronize people with false concern by writing "Sorry, but you're wrong." Don't insult people's views that differ than yours, people deserve respect, and chances are wrong! :)

Be sensitive, if you do step across someone's line, apologize! Treat everyone online as if you are dealing with a REAL friend. Do not take your preconceptions into the conversation. If they say they are offended, offer an apology and move on. If you don't understand a question or comment, ask for clarification rather than posting a knee jerk response.

If all else fails, enjoy a cup of coffee! There are bigger issues in life. I like St. Arbucks.