#1 Is civility dead? Probably. I don't know. I notice grown-ups acting like children when I fly. (I almost wrote "fly on an airplane," but that would imply I fly some other way, wouldn't it?) I have probably flown more in the last year than I have my entire life before that, and it irritates me to find adults acting like children. Yes, I know we all know the safety procedures, but talking loudly amongst each other while the flight attendant goes over them is just rude. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting next to a little old lady on a plane waiting for departure, while a man seated behind us was having a very loud and agitated conversation on his cell phone in which he was cussing up a storm. I am not exaggerating when I say just about every other word was the f-bomb. Loud. I could see the lady flinching at his every cuss, and I was not enjoying it either. Finally, I unlatched my seatbelt, got up, moved to the seat beside him and sat down. He was looking out the window, so I tapped on his shoulder. He looked shocked to even be interrupted. I simply said, "Your language is really inappropriate. There's a lady right in front of you that I know isn't enjoying it." To his credit he apologized. I returned to my seat and he returned to his conversation, less loudly, still agitated, but minus the profanity. In the last few weeks I've been reading about all these blow-ups at fast food places, people assaulting clerks and destroying property because there weren't pickles on their burger or whatever.
We are, every one of us, way too often ingrates.
#2 When I got back to the office after vacay, I had a few notecard questions in my box, I'm assuming late submissions for the Q&A portion of the theology class I wrapped up in December, and one of them was sort of "interesting." The writer basically says he or she sees no evidence for the present day office of pastor in the Bible and wondered if I would comment on that. I had to laugh. Not sure what to make of justifying my own existence. Should I give this person the percentage of their tithe that goes to my salary back? :-)
On the 17th I'm going to begin a series on "the church" that will cover a lot of things, including church governance (and the office of pastor), so hopefully that will suffice.
#3 Houston is set to open the nation's largest abortion clinic. They now have a gay mayor. (Joel Osteen did the prayer at her swearing in, naturally.) I wonder how cultural Christianity is working out for them?
#4 Speaking of Houston, I was just there for 2 weeks or so over the holidays and here's one thing I noticed: the attitude of workers in restaurants and retail establishments stinks. I told Becky it sure doesn't look like anybody's working like they need a job in a bad economy. Must be nice to get to work like employment is a gimme.
#5 I learned this morning, from Thabiti Anyabwile, that the first black pastor of a white congregation in America was Lemuel Haynes in Rutland, Vermont. Haynes was a strong Calvinist and vocal abolitionist.
#6 8 months ago Gary Lamb got fired (or resigned, I suppose) from Revolution Church in Canton, GA because he was cheating on his wife with his married personal assistant. Now, still dating his mistress, he is planning a new church plant. In Canton, GA. He knows people will disagree with this decision, but he says he has God's okay. Not sure which god he's talking about, but I bet it's Narcissus.
#7 Don't know why it took me so long to read Richard Sibbes's The Bruised Reed. It's amazing. If you are prone to depressions or struggle to fight for joy, I highly recommend reading it; God has used it to strengthen many. A taste:
“A Christian is an impregnable person. He is a person that never can be conquered. Emmanuel became man to make the church and every Christian to be one with him. Christ’s nature is out of danger of all that is hurtful. The sun shall not shine, the wind shall not blow, to the church’s hurt. For the church’s Head ruleth over all things and hath all things in subjection.
Therefore let all the enemies consult together, this king and that power, there is a counsel in heaven which will disturb and dash all their counsels. Emmanuel in heaven laugheth them to scorn. And as Luther saith, ‘Shall we weep and cry when God laugheth?’”