Monday, February 19

You’re a Victim; I’m a Victim; Everyone’s a Victim…

Did you read about the man below?

“A man who was fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room at work is suing the company for $5 million, claiming he is an Internet addict who deserves treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal.

James Pacenza, 58, of Montgomery, says he visits chat rooms to treat traumatic stress incurred in 1969 when he saw his best friend killed during an Army patrol in Vietnam.

In papers filed in federal court in White Plains, Pacenza said the stress caused him to become "a sex addict, and with the development of the Internet, an Internet addict." He claimed protection under the American with Disabilities Act.[1]

Just the latest in the “it’s not my fault, I can’t help myself, this is how God made me, nobody understands the trouble I’ve seen” approach to excusing the inexcusable. Before you get upset I am in favor of EEOC for the most part. I believe strongly in the ADA provisions but even these can get a bit wearisome when common sense is removed from the equation.

What has brought us to a place in our nation (I’m not going to speak for other cultures) in which we can so cavalierly persuade ourselves and others that we’re not to blame for things that we do? Parents don’t discipline enough. Parents spank their children. Schools are too tough on those who have problems concentrating. Schools don’t seek to engage the student as an equal part of the learning environment and program. It’s the police, men, women, gays, straights, religious right, liberals, Repubolcrats or Democans[2] that did this to me.

Are you part of this great cloud of victims? Maybe you feel you should hire an attorney and get in line with the others. Maybe you believe that in your case you really are the victim. Or maybe, just maybe it is time we got up, took responsibility for our own mess and went about solving the problem. I know it’s insensitive, so 19th century and probably just what the doctor ordered for a sick culture.



[1] accessed February 19, 2007

[2] The two parties are really just alike. It’s all about money and power/power and money. People rarely count except every other year. LOL

Sunday, February 11

orlando and home again

Back in church today, somewhat recovered from a flight that had 3 stops before Portland, I have had a little time to reflect on the convocation and what happened. I’ll echo what I wrote when I referenced Toby’s blog. It was a God thing.

Here was a group of people who spoke the same language; shared the same values and walked the walk of following Christ. We were in a group in which we didn’t have to wonder what someone meant when they used language. We were in a place where the word Father could be used to refer to God without rolled eyes and gasps about being insensitive. We were sisters and brothers who understood that our actions were going to be church-shattering.

What happens from here? That’s the question each congregation will have to ask themselves. It’s not enough that a pastor would like to affiliate with the EPC. It isn’t enough that a session is tired of the “stuff” out of Louisville and would like to be in a place where they own their building and aren’t embarrassed to be Presbyterian. God must lead each pastor, session, and congregation if this is to remain a God thing. And that is a scary prospect for some.

Here are few observation and lessons that I gleaned and which I imagine other congregations are having to think through as well.

  • If we don’t want to be missional let’s just forget it and stay where we are. We can die in the PCUSA just as quickly as in the EPC.

I, for one, don’t want to change from one outmoded, anachronistic bureaucracy for another outmoded, anachronistic bureaucracy. Each follower of Jesus who decides to take this step will have to be committed to doing the work of Jesus in the world around them.

  • The guiding principle when it comes to the property and assets are to behave as Jesus would.

That means we will be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. We can’t afford a $50,000 court battle but if God sees fit to remove the property from us so be it.

  • Some people won’t leave.

It may be they can’t worship apart from the building. There may be too many memories contained in that place. A few will see nothing wrong with the direction of the congregation. Others may just want to come to church for an hour on Sunday, go home and call it good.

  • God is good.

We know that God will bless where he leads. If it is to faithfully stay and fight for the purification of the PCUSA as the puritans did in England so be it. If it is to set off for a land that God will have to show, like our separatist pilgrim ancestors, so be it.

A last thought in this overly long post. It seems good to keep Dr. Sameh’s reminder from Acts in mind. "Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:30)


Friday, February 9

A God thing

I am not going to repeat the good report of Toby Brown. Read his blog. I'll merely add that the last two days have been a God thing pure and simple



Thursday, February 1

Generational Differences

WOW, and I'm not talking about the Vista release, this was on January 23, 2007 and shows the difference between the next/current generations. Nothing on the site says anything about the sample size but a little searching on the Pew website and I found out it's based on 1501 interviews done September and early October last year.

Quick thoughts.

1. If this is valid then the parents of Gen Next have done as bad a job as other parents in instilling the care for others into their children. I am the father of three Gen Next'ers and I apologize for my role in any of these findings.

2. If this is valid then it's probably a good thing the Democrats won so that the state can take care of people because it seems the people don't give a rip about others.

3. If this is valid the vast majority of those in Gen Next are going to be sadly disappointed with their life. That means the opportunity to reach them for Christ will happen when the disillusionment sets in, I hope.

4. Both of these seem to go a long way in explaining a "commercial" mindset to seeking a congregation to attend. It may also explain part of the lack of joining that seems prevalent in these groups.

5. I would love to see this over against the "busters" and "boomers" or whatever the latest name is for my age.

May God preserve our nation and His Church through this time.
Here's the link to the report, HTML andPDF.