Monday, February 25, 2013

iPods at Church

An interesting question, should people use their iPods at church. I've been thinking about this off and on lately. First, it was my husband using his iPod to read scripture during the service. I shook my head; I gave him a few disapproving looks (for those of you who may read this and don't know me, I specialize in these....haha..ha).

Next, he began using his iPod to read the call to worship, a Psalm or section of the Bible, from the stage during worship. It was on a music stand; I doubt anyone saw or noticed the difference. But I sure did!! I freaked OUT! (Quietly, inside. The casual observer may have seen me blink just a little too long, my eyebrows raise ever so slightly) WHAT is he DOING!! Sacrilege! For some reason it was The Unthinkable to me.

He argued that it's no big deal, and this way he can have the verses quickly and with no disruption to the flow of the service. It used to take him about 2.5 seconds to find the verse in his Bible. So now he is redeeming the time, putting those 2 seconds to better use. Umm... well done.

Finally, our 13 year old daughter, resplendent with a new iPod, also had the Bible app. Yikes! What might people be people thinking!? Do they think she is texting her friends like the teenage boys at the back of the church, phones hidden under their coats, satisfied smirks on their faces? Or maybe they think she's playing a game...heavens, this is embarrassing. No, she's just following along with the scripture reading. But I can hardly stand it. I'm really distracted...husband to the left of me, daughter to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with actual pages of a Bible.
I convince myself I'm simply archaic, maybe even jealous. I stare straight ahead. I know I have the attention span of a gnat with ADHD, so that's just it; gotta focus.
A few Sundays pass. I give up on the iPod on the stage, I figure my husband is a big boy and can do what he wants. (Whew, good grief, I know....poor man).

The daughter, well my husband began to have a problem with her looking at her iPod, also. We've asked her to put it away now and then. Hypocrites!! I say that tongue-in-cheek. Of course I know that teens need to do as their parents say, not as they do (my whole meaning for existence is kinda dependent upon this premise).

And then I read recently a series of articles on the subject of iPhones at church, and it got me thinking again. There seem to be many different reasons and rationales both for those FOR and those AGAINST. Some valid points, as far as I can tell, with a dash of sarcasm sprinkled in on both sides.

Personally, I don't think people should use their phones because a) it is distracting to people like me,  b) it is not a good example to those who may not have the iron control necessary to not check e-mail, tweet, or look at a facebook update, and c) I can't use this on my phone at the moment.
Alright c) is a joke.
That last one should actually read, c) when you use your Bible you can see the immediate and overall context.

Oh, and then there's:

d) iPhones are for entertainment and scripture is not entertainment
e) your phone might ring
f) it might be tempting to update your calendar using the bulletin
g) f) without the bulletin part
h) the battery might die in the middle of the sermon
i) the pastor may think you are making a meme
j) the pastor may think you are taking his picture and then using photoshop
k) your wife or significant other might give you looks like daggers
l) you may never crack a Bible again and have to give away your bookshelves because they are all dusty
m) the blue glow on your face may affect your skin tone

Should people even bring their phones to church? Should we leave them in the car? Should we have baskets for people to drop in their technology before entering the sanctuary? What about the guy with the laptop, taking semon notes? (I'm gonna choke him, yes I am, behind the church later. No joke.)

Besides, I spent all that time memorizing the books of the Bible, and it's not fair that you can bring up any verse with the smooth touch of a Galaxy button. Plus I learned that the Old Testament is the first section and the New Testament is the second one. And if you open your Bible in the middle it generally lands somewhere in the Psalms. And what about Sword Drills? I'd like to see a Bible teacher have some fun with that!
"iPhones UP!! Zebedee chapter 23, verse 19. GO."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What in the World are We DOing?

Earlier today I commented on a fairly famous Christian pastor's blog. He was talking about how we have mountains of words -- books, articles, blogs, and we read and read but do we read too much and too shallowly? Should we consider the way people read in the past, slowly, memorizing as they went, making it a part of their very heart and soul? Well I couldn't help replying. It's an interesting topic! To start with, in the past, fewer books were available and so it was natural to read and re-read, gleaning as much as possible from the pages, much like a child licking out the chocolate cake bowl...and the spoon...and the beaters...and the spatula... It makes sense. And I agree, it would be beneficial to read in a deeper way. 

However. The past aside, the present and future before us, as well as shelves and stacks of books, it is essential to consider what we are DOING with all these treasures of knowledge. Ahhh, humans!! We love to think (important), and discuss (wonderful), and even debate (we have the answers), and it may preclude but can never take the place of actually putting some legs on it. This is what bothers me about myself. Somehow I've swallowed this idea that I can read, think, even pray, and if I don't get around to taking action it's alright, just missed a bit of the process. My friends, the doing IS the process.
The Entire Point.

Here is my comment ( was a little long...hence this post)
It's true. And yet, if you enjoy reading, what's the loss? Some books on my shelves are treasures that I go back to and read over every few years. Some are good books that for whatever reason I wasn't interested enough in to finish. So be it. Some I read once and have no desire to read again, but the colorful spines on the shelf bring a smile to my face as I remember. With all the actual problems I have, I'm not going to manufacture any based on what I did or didn't read deeply. A question that has been challenging me recently is "What have you done with what you've read?" Say I sit down and invest some time in one of the great books Tim Challies has reviewed and recommends. Do I simply say,"Well, that was pretty good. Theology was sound, far as I know. I enjoyed that. Next...." or did I think about a real, living breathing day-to-day change I could make? If it was about fulfilling the Great Commission, did I talk to anyone about my relationship with Jesus? If it was about the Holy Spirit, did I watch for His fruit in my life or consciously try to keep in step with Him? If it was a challenge to be thankful, did I thank someone, did I pray, did I write what I was grateful for? If I DO something with the information, it is never a loss. If it doesn't take root... and begin to wasn't deep enough. The motto of the complacently informed -- Think Deeply, Do as Little as Possible.
I cannot see Jesus sitting under a tree for hours discussing how people need to be healed and rescued, and then walking to the next town and discussing it again.
I CAN see Him sitting under the tree with the disciples, talking, teaching, sharing, thinking... and then going through the village healing, encouraging, challenging, helping. Talking to the tax collector up in the sycamore tree. Healing the daughter of the Canaanite woman, who had great faith. Feeding people with bread and fish. Preaching in the synagogue. Jesus did the work; He made the sacrifice. And ultimately sacrificed it all, His life -- exchanged for ours. And now He sees me, set free, bought with a price, sitting and talking under a tree. Reading, studying. Thinking. While the hungry beg by the side of the road. I hoard my food, I keep the directions hidden, and the searching wander farther away.

Read, Pray, Love....?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Paint and Life

Why is choosing a paint color so difficult? For me it's always incredibly hard. Crazy though -- why would I rather live in drabness for years, rather than take a risk with a paint I may hate? Besides all the obvious reasons such as cost, hard work, dealing with smell and drip cloths and taping off ceiling and trim...I'm wondering if I fear failure too much. Don't want to mess it up!! Yep that's probably it, alright.
 And another thing. This part has to do with personality, or personaliTIES as the case may be! For those of you who know the 4 basic personalities of Choleric, Sanguine, Melancholy and Phlegmatic, I happen to be a strong Melancholy and Sanguine blend. Now for the uninitiated, these two profiles are OPPOSITES. They sit on opposite sides of the table and rarely strike up a conversation for fear of eye-rolling and unpleasantness. And the table they are sitting at happens to be up in my brain, or psyche, or what-have-you. So the melancholy, list-making, careful planner wants grey, and rules and subtle sophistication. Sanguine Pam wants teal blue, and copper, and lively swirls, and to leave the rich golden color on the living room walls. Unfortunately for the walls of my house, there seems to be a standoff between these two darlings. Ever try to be bold and original, yet thoughtful and careful at the same time?! HMMM?? Good luck.
Now I understand spontaneous combustion.  Ha ha. That was a little joke.

Sanguine Pam is laughing.
Melancholy Pam is wondering how long it will be until I'm done writing this blog and can get on with my day.
Sanguine Pam is secretly planning to take a nap.
What both don't realize is in about 5 minutes I'm going to force all of us to do a tough exercise routine. (hee hee)

What's it gonna be? Grey Whisp or Gossamer Blue? As a university student renting off campus, my roommate and I just went to Canadian Tire and bought whatever reasonable mis-tint was there that day for four bucks. And were quite happy with the results! Aahh Life, when didja get so complicated.