Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Comparing Ourselves to Others

Hello, loyal readers. Sorry for the posting delay. Last week I was at the Biltmore Church of Christ in Asheville, North Carolina. I gave a "Missional Church" seminar there, which was very well received. Just so you know, I usually try to post a new thought by each Tuesday, with follow-up comments throughout the week.

I just read how Avery Johnson, the first-year head coach of the Dallas Mavericks is seeking reworking of his coaching contract. He is scheduled to make $2.5 MILLION dollars this year and the next two years. However, he took the Mavs to the NBA finals in only his first year as coach, and his coaching salary is in the bottom third of the league.

One sports writer said it well. This is not about money--$2.5 million is enough there--but about respect. And if someone else makes more, even if we are doing fine, and we feel that we are doing a better job, it bothers us. It's easy to pick on Avery, but we probably would feel the same thing in the same type of situation, right or wrong. Human nature.

Is it ever appropriate to compare ourselves to others?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Reason or Experience--How do we know truth?

The dismissal of experience in discovering truth comes from our Enlightenment & Restoration Heritage. Is this, however, correct? I would say no on three levels.

1. In our everyday lives, we come to belief and truth primarily through experience.
When I was dating my wife, I did not merely accept a reasonable proposition that she would make a good mate for me. I experienced her--her presence, her laugh, her holding of my hand. In teaching Gina (our 5 year old daughter) to pray, I didn't teach her a proposition about God. I taught her to say prayers, and through that process she came to accept God as Father.

2. Scripture places a high value on experience.
Note these words from John:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.

The earliest Christians believed in Christ not because it was merely "reasonable," but primarily because they experienced Christ.

3. People today especially value experience in coming to know truth. Part of this is because "reasonable" people have committed horrible atrocities (i.e., Nazis), and reason has not prevented continued wars, hate crimes, etc. Part of this is because we get so many advertizements that the only way to know if something really works is to try it--or to listen to someone else who has tried it.

So, in order to convince people of the truth of Christianity, we must be able to point towards our experience. What positive experiences can we share with others that demonstrate the truth of our faith?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Are we "Clicking" Our Lives Away?

On Monday night, Becki and I went with some friends to see a movie. We had intended to see "Superman Returns," but there was not a showing at the time we needed. So we went to see "Click" with Adam Sandler

While billed as a comedy--and the film did have some funny moments--it turns sharply serious in the second half. In the film, Sandler's character receives a universal remote that controls the universe. With it he can pause or fast forward life. He ends up fast forwarding all the unpleasant parts of his life (arguments, showering, drugery at work, etc.), and in so doing, realizes that he has missed life itself.

About a month ago I caught myself actually wanting to fast forward my life two weeks, I had so much to get done. What does this say about us? Are we just too busy, or do we simply not value life enough? Aren't bad times better than a life unlived?