Saturday, May 30, 2009

Disconnected Body Parts

My family dragged me into the digital age kicking and screaming! They dragged me away from my trusted upright Underwood Typewriter--my friend of forty years. They found a good deal on a Word Processor--one I could afford--insisting (almost demanding) that I buy it.

I reasoned without hope. I argued against it. I dragged my feet everyway I could, but they pulled me along to the store and almost refused to let me go home without a purchase. That was a major step toward the computer age. I enjoyed my Word Processor, it multiplied my productivity and before you know it I was into a tiny--compared to what I now have--computer enjoying AOL, email, and the world wide webb.

The rest is history and I wouldn‘t go back! I am lost without my computer, although I can check my email via some other computer. I love what my computer does for me. It expands my whole life. I email widely and instant message with family and friends. I surf the webb, google, even tip-toe into Face Book, since a friend invited me. I can’t afford cell phones, I-pods, and all the gadgetry kids think is life-essential. I give thanks--freely--for the benefits of technology.

Nonetheless, I suggest some have gone too far down the road in the wrong direction. We contact more people over a wider area than ever before--wired to the world--but drifting too far into that Far Country of Individualism. Now, speaking to members and ministers of my own Faith Community, I offer this insight gained from Pastor Gary Brown in Winchester, KY.

While preaching about the Elder Brother of the Prodigal Son. Gary described living in that Far Country. He noted that the benefits always disappear when we stop our deposits into the Bank of Relationships. Both Elder brother and Prodigal dropped their family deposits. While Gary threaded his thoughts, I wandered down another path, contemplating the individualism, the independency, the lack of cohesion which the Church of God, Anderson, has experienced in recent years.

Pastors are overly involved paddling their own canoes … building their own “kingdoms.” Local congregations attempt their own foreign mission efforts. Our individualism reflects in the decreases in our cooperative budgeting--especially the national. It shows in many ways, including down-sized staffing at Chog Ministries and weakened programs. Dr. Ron Duncan and others have written and spoken to this point, leading discussion groups about our congregational polity, our voluntary Associations, our lack of corporate cohesion (cooperative) efforts--especially noteworthy at the national level.

I grew up on camp meetings and many other cooperative church ventures, and this is neither a promo for returning to camp meetings or other corporate efforts. It is to observe that too many among us live in a Far Country where individuals play Lone Ranger, remaining only loosely wired to the larger church family.

We are discovering that the benefits at the Bank of Relationships soon disappear when we stop making deposits to that account. We run out of benefits sooner or later, when we abandon those relationships from which our benefits came!

IS THAT A FAIR ANALYSIS OF WHERE WE ARE? We want all the relational benefits without the burden of the relationships? I married 62 years ago and I told my spouse that day that I loved her; I ought not need to tell her every day of those 62 years. But try it and see what happens…………..

If you are a pastor, or someone who wants no obligation beyond home base - strictly local option - no headquarters - no CHOG Ministries to coordinate programs and acts as liaison in coordinating our gross-output, think again! It “ain’t” going to happen!

Speaking Biblically, we are corporately THE BODY OF CHRIST--with all true believers everywhere. We work under one head--all equal. Every limb coordinates with every other part of the body, from the head down. What my hands accomplish is greatly enhanced by where my feet take me, as directed by up above. My heart functions with every other part of my reasonably healthy body. Thus, I accomplish far more together--in unity and purpose--than when each part functions independently.

In the church, we accomplish far more together than we can possibly achieve by ourselves, be we a mega-church or a mini-ministry. I’d love to see us functioning as a healthy, well-coordinated interdependent church, with a sound mind and strong body, rather than being a loose collection of disconnected body parts.

This is Wayne
From Warner’s World

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