"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shame in the Booth

Memorial Day is full of American pride and tradition. It’s refreshing to see professional sports teams join in the accolades. Last weekend, in Major League Baseball, every team wore camouflage hats. Some teams even wore camouflage jerseys to honor the heroes who fight everyday in uniform. I thought this was a nice touch and very appropriate.

But on the other hand—words from the announcing booth at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, were absolutely despicable. David Wright stepped up to the plate. When he swung at an inside fastball, it not only jammed his hands, but it broke his bat in half—half of it flying all the way down the first base line. Referring to the broken bat laying on the ground, Announcer Keith Hernandez said, “There’s another dead soldier”. On Memorial Day? You’ve got to be kidding me.

Now, as a baseball fan, I know what he meant—and if you’re a baseball fan, you do too. “Dead Soldier” is common terminology for a broken bat. The same way people refer to a football as “Pig Skin”, or even the three point line on the basketball court as the “Top of the Key”. But on a day to honor fallen heroes, Hernandez says over the air, “There’s another dead soldier”; terrible, horrific, timing. Reactions have stormed the media and I understand why. Hernandez will learn to choose his words more carefully.

Sadly, Christians need to examine their words just like Keith Hernandez. What we say at the time may not seem wrong to us, but to others, our words can cause emotional damage. We must know our context, our setting, and our listeners. If we don’t, we can make an eternal mistake.

The writer of Proverbs said it this way, “A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.” (Proverbs 12:23). Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you say it; because sometimes, when you do, shame covers your brow.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Losing the Purpose

I hope you’re all geared up for Memorial Day weekend. It’s refreshing to kick off summer with family and friends, sitting around the pool, dabbling in the pleasures and novelties of the grill. It’s a privilege to remember those who have paid the ultimate price so we can enjoy our freedom. We owe this holiday to them.

But on a deeper, spiritual level, we can quickly lose the purpose of memorials. Consider this excerpt from Dr. James Dobson’s book, “Coming Home: Timeless Wisdom for Families”.

“The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful and costly tombs ever built, but there is something fascinating about its beginnings. In 1629, when the favorite wife of Indian ruler Shah Jahan died, he ordered that a magnificent tomb be built as a memorial for her. The shah placed his wife’s casket in the middle of a parcel of land, and construction of the temple literally began around it. But several years into the venture, the Shah’s grief gave way to a passion for the project. One day while he was surveying the sight, he reportedly stumbled over a wooden box, and he had some workers throw it out. It was months before he realized that his wife’s casket had been destroyed. The original purpose for the memorial became lost in the details of construction.”

Can you imagine being Shah Jahan when he discovered his faux pas? Words fail to capture the heartache, but Dr. Dobson makes a valid point. Excuse after excuse can be made for the shah’s oversight, but the cause is the same—“the original purpose for the memorial became lost in the details of construction”.

As we continue to grow, both in spirit and number, may we never lose our purpose. In the memorial of all memorials, Jesus defined that purpose in this way, “Do this in remembrance of me”. His body and His blood stand at the forefront of our lives, sharing the limelight with no one or nothing. Don’t lose it in the details.