Sometimes you just wanna get away from it all

I was asked, and accepted, to be a member of the Board of Directors at the church where I worship. It’s a Christian church but they are a Hebraic roots movement, which is sort of the same as a Messianic Synagogue, except where Messianic Jews accept Yeshua as Messiah and remain Jewish, Hebraic Roots Movement is where Christians want to know more about their Jewish roots and they honor Torah, but are not “converting” to Judaism. I guess they’re two sides of the same coin.

In any event, I was asked to work on getting the website for the church upgraded, updated and , well…up. I did some research, we had a reference from someone in the Congregation who had personal experience and knew the person and after meeting with him I recommended we go with him. There are three others on the Board, two of which said they were fine with what I suggested and the amount, and the third said to not pay it all up front, which we decided was a good idea. I emailed the site host and made our offer, which he accepted and said he would send us an invoice and get started.

That’s when one of the members started to waver, asked questions about other costs, said he never agreed to an amount (that was never suggested), etc. Then he started to ask why we can’t use a free site, or a cheaper site. The last straw, for me, was when he said if we all don’t agree then we have to meet and hold a formal vote. I was told, before I joined, that we did not have to be unanimous, and the issue about having to have a meeting and a formal vote when one disagrees was never even suggested.

Well, I was fuming. I don’t like surprises, and I don’t like indecision. All I saw was cold feet, even though every point he made was valid and useful. The problem I had was that he didn’t make these until we started to move. Where was he, I was thinking, over the past two weeks of emails I had been sending? Why is he making all this fuss now, when everyone else (yes, all 3 of us) had decided to go ahead.

I don’t like that. The events and how they happened, as well as the emails (the last one I sent was so hot it had to be typed with an asbestos keyboard) finally resulted with our Pastor telling us to cool it, get back to being godly in our dealings and no more emails or texts. We need to be face-to-face now. And he was, of course, absolutely correct.

So, what was my tirade about? It’s wasn’t really about the person who was blocking movement (I don’t mean that to be a derogatory statement) and it wasn’t really about having to ask the vendor to hold up starting for a little bit. It wasn’t really about anyone being a bad guy; in fact, if there is a “bad guy” to this story, it’s me.

The level of my anger was not justified. I wasn’t angry because of his suggestions, which were fine, or because of his timing, which was very bad, but I was angry because of my own pride. I felt betrayed, misled and embarrassed: here I had been asked to get this done, something they had been wanting to do for a while, and after being tasked with this, putting in time to research, meet with the vendor, and email everyone with the results, I got approval from two and the third did not say “wait on this” , but the moment I said “Go!” I was grabbed by the nape of my neck and told, “STOP!!”

I believe that the way our third member handled this was wrong- but that is no excuse for me getting so angry as to even threaten to quit (I hadn’t even been to two meetings yet.) That sort of ultimatum (usually) is the result of pridefulness, which (I have said over and over) is the mother of all sins. My pride is what caused us to be shut down, email-wise, and my pride probably made what was just bad timing, and a minor delay, into a major event. I am sure that after we can review all the information I have since sent out, comparing cheap hosted sites against professionally constructed and hosted sites (which I, in my pridefulness, already knew about), we will continue to go forward with the vendor most of us agreed would be OK.

And I expect that, because we are (well, at least they are) godly men, we will get past this with nothing more than a sense of how we can better handle disagreements in the future.

In the meantime, I have to preach this Friday night at Shabbat services and I am preaching about loving each other as God loves us- pretty much what I wrote about for this past Monday’s posting. That was before I blew my top. Now I feel really bad about myself, I feel undeserving of going before a congregation, and I feel ashamed.

So, what should I do? I’ll tell what I should do- I should get over it and get moving, again. I fell down, so what? I am getting up again, I am going forward, I still feel that I wasn’t wrong in what I said but that I was wrong in how I said it (the story of my life!) I know it’s going to be OK,  but I won’t feel better until I apologize face-to-face, shake his hand and hug him, and hear that he has forgiven me.

In the meantime, I am not going to beat myself up. I made a mistake, that’s what we do, we humans. We make mistakes. And I know that he will forgive me because he is a man of God, a man who is spiritually mature, and a man I can trust. I am glad I know him.

I hope he can feel that way about me one day.

Pride is a horrible thing, and being a horrible thing, it makes us do horrible things.  I am prideful, and I am working on it, with the help of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

The most important lesson here is not so much to watch what we say (which we should) , or think before speaking (then shut up, anyway), but to know that we will fall, we will fail, and we will do it more than once. And after all that we must keep going and striving to improve. The Enemy wants me to feel bad, he wants me to call the Pastor and tell him I am not worthy to preach to anyone, and he wants me to quit being on the Board.

Sorry, Satan- I’m not falling for that. I will fall, but not for your line of fertilizer, Buddy-boy! I will keep at it; I will continue to preach because God has given me that gift (which has been confirmed to me by many) and I will stay on this Board because if they asked me to be on it, I should trust their judgment. They are more spiritually mature than I am. They can teach and develop me, and I can also help and enhance this Board because I am working on being better and God is behind me.

We all fall, we all do stupid things, and we all hurt someone or get hurt by someone. So what. Really- so what! I still have God, I still have Messiah, and I still have breath to praise Him and strength to keep trying to be better, for Him.

You never really fail at anything until you stop trying.

Talking in (Digital) Tongues

Facebook…Twitter…Hash tag this, Tweet me that. Whatever happened to talking to each other using the language we were (supposed) to have been taught in school?

OK- one thing I can say about Twitter is that having a defined number of characters can help someone learn to say what they want to say as effectively as possible. People who give sermons could take a lesson from that (myself included) but overall what we have done is to shorten words so much, and use just the initials (acronyms instead of words), that it has been a digital glossolalia.

What’s worse is that the youth of today cannot communicate outside this world of text-language. That spells disaster for anyone over 45 because when the high school kids of today enter the workforce, the age of sending memo’s will be gone. It will be MMITCF (meet me in the conference room) or YF! (this can be figured out easily, as you pack up your desk.)

The Bible is from God, and it tells us who He is and what He wants from us, and those things never change. There are many, many different interpretations, and I am afraid that in the next decade or so the newer versions may be more in line with digital talk than plain English.

Imagine: “…and the Lord emailed Moses and said,”Hash tag Pharaoh and tell him to LMPG!”  How about: “David and Jonathan were BFF’s?” Or maybe: “…First there was the email, then the email became a Tweet, and the tweet dwelt within my mailbox.”

It seems to lose something, doesn’t it? Some of you may be saying there are languages today that are picture languages, such as many of the Asian languages and even ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. And the ancient Egyptians were the most developed and advanced people of their time, so why am I so worried about today’s Text-talk? And you could be right- maybe I am just being old fashioned and stubborn.

I’ve had people say I am stubborn, but I will NEVER AGREE!!!  (this is what we writers call, ‘Comic relief.” Are you laughing? No? Maybe a smile?)

Language itself is a dynamic thing, it always changes and that is a normal part of civilization. As we grow we change, our needs change, our society changes, and so to does the language. To most people the word “Blast” today only means some sort of explosion, or a party, but in the late 19th Century it was a curse word. I am certain that some of today’s curse words will be a regular part of the language by the year 2020. The comedian (the late) George Carlin had a skit about “The 7 Words You Can’t Say on Television”- I think there’s only 2 left. Even when they bleep out the word, it is still obvious what it is.

Anyway, language will change, and I suppose that there will be people who will eventually re-write the Bible to reflect the current verbiage and usage. I pray that nothing is lost in translation.

God is the same today as he was yesterday, and will be the same tomorrow and forever. The Bible is not just His laws and teachings, it is who He is. It is how He lets us get to know Him, intimately. Changing that into modern text-talk has to deplete it. I can’t stand that idea!

I have been a little back-and-forth today, and I’m sorry about that. I can’t seem to get my thoughts together coherently and express them in a clear way. Maybe that’s part of the message- I am pretty good at writing (I hope you agree) and can express myself well. If I can’t write a blog telling you, my readers, exactly what I am feeling, if I had text-talked this how much more would you be missing? We cannot afford to miss even one jot or tiddle from the Manual because we will need every sentence, every word, every syllable that God gave us to defend ourselves against the Enemy.

Ephesians tells us the Word of God is a sword. Just like any sharp instrument, if you don’t handle it carefully and with respect, you can seriously damage yourself. We need to keep the Word of God intact, and as He had us write it. If we become so irresponsible with our language as to change the way we communicate, we lose something very valuable. Poetry, the beautiful lyrics of music, love letters between people, the Psalms…you can’t express these feelings and emotions with acronyms.  And that means that the Bible, also, will lose it’s potency if it is “texted.”

Yeshua tells us to stay alert with regards to His return. May I suggest we stretch the meaning of this a little to be alert not just for His return, but to the way the Enemy will try to deceive us into apostasy.  I may sound a little over-reactive, but I do believe that as we lose the ability to communicate effectively with each other we lose the ability to organize. If we can’t organize, we can’t become an army for God. Maybe in a century or so people will be able to communicate using nothing but symbols and acronyms, but I don’t think so. We need a language with the ability to express itself in complete thoughts and to be flexible enough to change without becoming so different it isn’t even the same thing anymore.

Teach your children to write with words, teach your employees how to write a memo, to spell without “Spellcheck”, and to verbally communicate with each other. Ditch the cell phones at parties and in the car, or at the dinner table, and talk to each other.

We need to stay together, to communicate effectively so that we can be ready and prepared against the Enemies of God. We can’t do that well if we can’t even form a sentence.