Tonight our fellowship had a workshop on the care of people with disabilities. Among the different ideas offered was the advice to refrain from overusing the word “stop.” Stop using the word stop! The point was made largely in reference to instructing children, but the point has good theological grounding. Just as we are commanded to “put off” the deeds of the flesh and to “put on” the deeds associated with the new birth, so too it is not enough just to go around telling people to stop. As my professor says, “when is a liar no longer a liar?” It isn’t when he stops lying; its when he tells the truth. I take this as a very practical and important reminder that as Christians, especially interacting with culture, it is not enough to blow something out of the water but to suggest and encourage something in its place.
Secondly, I came to a realization regarding administration. Our fellowship group started characteristically late, and ended late as well. I’m always unsure of when to leave, because I want to stay to make sure everyone gets home safely, but often this means I leave at an obscene hour. We often don’t start on time because the majority don’t show up on time. But here’s the kicker: there is no incentive to show up on time if they believe we’re going to start late. Rather, we need to just start at the appointed time and people will realize after arriving during song worship a few times that they need to come earlier if they want to be there for the beginning.
For both realizations, there is no reason to complain about our mistakes, but lots of glorious hope that we may continue to be refined and learn how to better minister to others. And I apologize if these “realizations” begin to sound familiar after a while – it takes me a while before the ideas become habits.