Beliefnet
Everyday Spirituality

I’ve been attending classes on how to present a message for a church. Here are a few tips I took away from last nights class.

-Don’t use divisive words. Churches often have their own lingo however, using this lingo creates a wall between the regulars and anyone new.

-Don’t let anger in your voice talk louder than any good points being said.

-Share with your audience knowledge that can be participated in, rather than only consumed.

 

“The most spiritual people I’ve ever met were not “givers” they were communicators. You don’t give people crumbs. You give them the whole piece of bread when that is what they are asking for, in order to be healed. Christ was never about hiding behind a Facebook page, an email, a prayer circle, a bible, or a church. He was about talking, listening and healing– face to face. He walked among sinners and ate with them. He devoted his time to people that were brokenhearted, difficult to like and fake as the religious beliefs they clung to. So, why is it that so many people profess to believe in Christ, yet they have forgotten what real love is—-communicating?”
Shannon L. Alder

The Student of the Year spoke at the college graduation I attended last Saturday. He told his peers that he had reinvented himself when he came to college. “I was unpopular and detached in High School,” he said. “I decided to change my attitude and broaden my horizons when I came to college.”

A few seconds of confusion filled the air. No one could imagine this Student of the Year as ever being anything but involved in a multitude of clubs, mentoring, working, and volunteering constantly.

Comparing the old with the new, he said, “Don’t be afraid of the unknown.”

Granted, the graduation ceremony was full of clichés. But it reminded me of the cliché, “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.” If a class curriculum works, leave it. If a book is good, leave it. If the diet works, don’t change it.

However, even the wheel has been reinvented.

Researchers agree that the wheel was invented about 3500 BC. But, the sophisticated mind can detect wheels back in the Paleolithic era (15,000 to 750,000 years ago), when humans used logs to move large loads around.

The Egyptians are credited with the first spoked wooden wheel on their chariots about 2000 BC. Iron rims were seen on Celtic chariots in 1000 BC.

wheeli, sit tankThen there was a lull. From 1000 BC until the 19th century, wheels stayed the same. This must be when the cliché “we don’t need to reinvent the wheel” got stuck in people’s heads.

But, for more than a century, the wheel cliché is not being feared or followed. The need for faster transportation and the idea of using less material contributed to wheel reinvention in the 19th century and throughout the 20th century.

The wire tension spoke became the pneumatic tire. Another reinvention was the addition of hard rubber. Later, carbon was added to the rubber and the wheel/tires lasted longer. Then carbonless rubber. In 1926 and 1927 the steel welded-spoke wheels were invented. Disc wheels were prompted by their lower costs.

For as often as the wheel has been reinvented, it’s safe to say the benefit of being unafraid to change our attitude and broaden our horizons is okay. Plus we get the potters wheel, the ferris wheel…

The 12-step alcoholics anonymous program starts with honesty. Anyone seeking improvement must first admit they need help. This generally comes after years of denial, after years of refusing to admit the truth that there is a problem.

Alcoholics do not have a monopoly on the habit of refusing to admit truth.

Parents, spouses, co-workers, bosses, consumerists, religious folk, leaders, me, the list goes on, all have been known to not see the plain truth, even when it’s staring us in the face.

The whole situation of someone being oblivious to the truth is mind-boggling. We try to justify or explain it. Even this verse from the Gospel John has been used to interpret the ignorance: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (KJV)

This sort of makes sense in that a lie can’t know truth, or that dishonesty doesn’t comprehend honesty.

We may even think there are some people who don’t want to know the truth. They’d rather die with their lie. But, these thoughts are…, well…, dark.

Thankfully, we can back-up a step and stay in the light.

Other Bible translations of the same verse read: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (ESV). Or, “The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.” (Phillips)

This view focuses on the light.

There are times when we need to stand for a higher truth, whether it calls for more selflessness in the family, more justice in society, more vision in an organization, or more hard work. And, as we shine with the truth, without giving power to the darkness or dishonesty, we see and experience that, “the light still shines.”

It’s been really windy here the last few days. The wind can sometimes be a nuisance, but could you imagine no wind? Nothing to stir things up? The environment would become stale, muggy, stifling, stagnant, static.

Exodus 14:21 (ESV)

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

Numbers 11:31 (ESV)

31 Then a wind from the Lord sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground.

Matthew 7:25 (ESV)

25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.