“The Central Purpose of a Fellowship”

Marty Wooten, a one time ICOC teacher and bigwig, has recently joined Kip’s LA church. I found it surprising and a little disappointing, but it may be a good thing after all. Marty may be the balance that Kip needs. Marty seems more thoughtful and introspective while Kip is zealous and impulsive. Maybe, as Marty has acknowledged, they can help balance each other out with each’s weaknesses being complimented be the other’s strength.
But that’s not the point of this post. What I wanted to write about was something he wrote in his part 2 of why he’s joined Kip’s church:

If the central purpose of a fellowship is to impact the world for Christ, then unity is an absolute necessity for success (John 17); unity within an individual church and between a larger fellowship of churches must take place.

He’s making a point that Kip makes a lot in this article. Churches need relationships with other churches if we are to be about our main mission, seeking and saving the lost. I don’t take issue with relationships between churches being needed and good (he speaks of it in a way that I can better accept than what Kip usually says). My concern is with the premise that leads to the conclusion:

If the central purpose of a fellowship is to impact the world for Christ

Maybe I’m a heretic, but is that really the central purpose of a fellowship? Certainly it is one of the purposes of a fellowship, and even an important one, but “the central purpose”? I don’t think so.
I’m not sure how I’d word it (help me out here), but Jesus told us that loving God and loving others were most important (in that order). Sharing the gospel and evangelism (what he’s getting at if you read the article) are part of doing that (never mind the high minded wording of ‘impacting the world’), but not all of it. Certainly, seeking and saving are not our central purpose, but part of it.
Isn’t this one of the things that got the ICOC in trouble? We assumed Jesus’ mission (seek and save the lost) was to be our mission. If that is true, then that will lead us to a lot of things. Door knocking, jumping in front of folks on the street to invite them to church, over emphasis on stats and growth and an unhealthy church to church interdependence.
I think the primary mission of the church is simply to love. Love God passionately, love each other deeply and love everyone else as we do ourselves. If we do, we will reach out to other churches, we will evangelize, and do so cooperatively and we will serve and care for those in need. We will be a light in the darkness, whether that darkness is sin, sickness or poverty.
What do you think?

Reading Email on your TV …

… is hard to do. The text is fuzzy and too small. And I can’t surf and watch Letterman at the same time.
I guess it’s time fro a big screen plasma, eh? 😀
My laptop screen is still out, so I plugged it in to my TV so I can still sit in my recliner rather than in the uncomfortable desk chair where the PC monitor is. I’ve got a special cable that connects my laptop to my surround sound receiver so I can play MP3’s on my stereo. I can watch YouTube on the TV with it too, and now check my email and surf the web. The resolution on my 10 year old 27″ TV isn’t that good, though.
I’m beginning to think that the desk is a better idea.

Good Guys 2007

This year’s Good Guys show was a week later than past years. That was a good thing because it usually conflicts with my Dad’s yearly Barbershop convention, so he hasn’t been able to go.
This year he was able to join me and we had a great time. We spent about 8 hours on our feet July 14th on concrete and asphalt at the fairgrounds looking at over 6,000 pre-1973 hot rods, customs and street rods. It was worth every minute and the aches and pains later. The Columbus event has grown into the largest Good Guys show in the nation. Chip Foose was here, as was Boyd Coddington, although we didn’t see either. Too many cool cars to see.
Dad has pretty much the same reaction I did the first year I went. He kept saying something like ‘Wow, this is so cool.’ It’s amazing and overwhelming at the same time. I tried to get him to buy a nice 1965 Baraccuda Formula S that was similar to a car he had when I was growing up. OK, the color, engine, interior and transmission were all different. It was the same year model, though. He wasn’t biting though.
As is my custom, you can view the gallery of pictures (over 200 this year) in the Salguod Gallery. Someday I’ll get a link to that up here.

Ezekiel – Chapter 32-33

Ezekiel 32:2 – At first it doesnt sound like much to merit all the destruction told in the following verses. But thinking about it, it sounds like Egypt’s downfall is pride. It considers itself great and goes about meddling in things as a result, making a mess.
Ezekiel 32:18-32 – There seems to be genuine sadness in God’s words as he recounts all these uncircumcised nations brought down. It’s comforting to see God mourn over those who missed the mark and paid for it.
Ezekiel 33:1-6 – It is the calling of some to be a watchman and to sound the trumpet when the sword is coming. The people cannot escape danger if they are not warned. I think in some ways we are all called to be watchmen. We all are to keep our eyes and ears open to see if there is danger on the path that the church is taking and to speak up – sound the trumpet – when and if we see it. While we all must be aware, very few are called to be full time watchmen. It’s easy to think that that is our role, to keep watch. But rather than watchmen we become policemen, making sure everyone is kept in line.
We will see things in our church and in people that require the response and warning of the watchman. It takes discernment to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.
Ezekiel 33:1-9 – Didn’t God already give Ezekiel this speech once? I wonder why He repeated it. Do you suppose that he was slipping in his duties, that he needed a little reminder? I’d like to think so.
Ezekiel 33:10-16 – Here God lays out repentance and falling. He warns both the righteous to not feel content in their position and the wicked to not feel trapped by their sin. The wicked can rise from it, but so can the righteous fall. Neither position is permanent.

The Trivialities

For those who care (Mom 😀 ), here’s what I’ve been filling my time with:
My laptop screen went all crazy horizontal lines on me so I spent a couple of days taking it apart and putting it back together to re-seat the ribbon cable and then, when that didn’t help, searching eBay for parts. The new screen assy arrived earlier this week, but was not the resolution it was advertised to be. The seller’s on vacation, so I wait until next week to resolve that.
Maria and the girls are in PA, near Philly, at church camp so I’m a bachelor for the week. It’s been great having all my time to myself, but I’m ready for them to be back. I heard Cheryl Crow’s Soak Up the Sun on the radio yesterday and immediately saw Audrey grinning and singing along. It was her favorite song back when it was pretty popular. I was ready for them to be home then. They’re having a ball, except perhaps for Maria, who spent 2 hours on Sunday cleaning greasy pans from cooking 67 chickens for dinner. More on that when they get home, maybe.
I spent last weekend cleaning and waxing the Mazda. Been wanting to do that for a while, so I took advantage of the solitude. That’s about 3 hours of tar removal & cleaning, and another 3-4 hours of waxing and polishing. My arms were sore on Monday.
I hope to get some T’bird projects done too. I’ve spent a good amount of time just driving it last weekend. It got a new battery on Monday and I put it up on stands Thursday to begin the front suspension rebuild it needs.
Been working on my long threatened new blog layout. It’s coming along, but still has a ways to go. Maybe in a few weeks. 😀
Movable Type 4 is out in beta and I’ve been following the developments there. You can try it out your self for free by visiting movabletype4.org where there’s an open, fully functional demo version set up. The MT community has been invigorated by it. It seems that several of my earlier rants have been addressed (not sure if I had any influence on that, but it matters not) and there’s real life being poured back into MT.
Dad and I went to the Good Guys show a couple of weeks ago. It was fun to have him along, usually he’s out of town. I’m working on the photos so I can get the gallery together.

I’m Still Around

It’s been a while, I thought I should post, well, something. I’ve not been a very good blogger of late. 😛
I’ve been busy with things other than posting of late. I just don’t have anything on my mind, so I fill my schedule with other things. Actually, the truth is closer to I’ve had big things on my mind that I’ve been avoiding an not knowing how to post about them, I’ve shrunk back into other minutiae.
I’ve had thoughts of posting on some stuff, but not many. There are several, many actually, blog posts that I’ve been meaning to link to as well. Maybe later.
I’ve spent the last couple of years chasing answers on big questions:

  • What is church?
  • What about Kip?
  • What about the UP?
  • What about discipling?
  • etc.

Throughout all of that, and intertwined with it, is the big questions of What is Christianity? and Who are Christians? After all these years, I’m still not quite sure how to treat or think of those outside my historic Restoration Movement circle. I once knew exactly what to think. “If you’re not for us your against us.’ summed it up. Judgemental, condescending and harsh are other words for it.
Yet in my retreat from those ways, I feel as though I’ve lost something. It seems most folks who claim the name ‘Christian’ take it at face value when others do as well. I learned not to do that from the ICOC, but to look for some sort of evidence. Actually, we would assume that you weren’t until you passed all our tests. Clearly, many who claim the name aren’t, but it’s not my job to say who, but I simply can’t just take it at face value when someone claims the name of Christ. Judgement is not good, but discernment is. But what does that look like?
So, where I am now is that I’ve come to grips with the fact that I just can’t know all these answers. It’s not my job to draw lines in the sand or build walls. I’ve come to terms with that truth. I don’t think I’ve emotionally let go of it quite yet, but I’m there intellectually.
What I haven’t come to terms with or figured out is what am I supposed to actually do. Thousands and thousands claim Christ and I know some of them and meet some more all the time. Some are clearly in the wrong, either misinformed or in denial. I’m most certainly one of them as well. What do I do about it? I can’t in good conscience sit on my hands (although I have been) and yet I’m not sure it’s my place to speak. Who am I, imperfect and wrong as anyone, to say anything?
My response has been to slowly back away and sit down in the corner and watch. The questions still swirl in my head, but no answers are forthcoming. So I fill my time with the trivialities of life and ignore the nagging uncertainties.

The Car – Wrap Up

I meant to do a wrap up on my tale of woe involving my Mazda3.
Shortly after my post, I contacted a couple of lemon law attorneys about my situation. It turns out that the lemon law only applies to manufacturer defects, not dealer mishaps. I read the actual text of the statute and the fluff PDF the state puts out for the public and couldn’t find any such distinction, but I’m no attorney so what do I know.
I also checked ‘the Google’ for word combos like ‘Ricart’ and ‘Fraud’ and the first page that came up was this one, a page dedicated to Ricart (which hasn’t been updated in years and they didn’t return my email). According to that site, I was pretty much out of luck. It turns out that filing a complaint with the Attorney General’s office would get me referred to a mediation board run by the dealer’s association and staffed by car salesmen. Mr. Ricard supposedly sits on the board of said group. I have no idea if this is still true, or if in fact it ever was true, but even so it was going to be me against one of the largest dealers in the country. Not good odds.
I then took the car into Ricart and talked over my situation with the service manager, the body shop manager and their boss. I showed them the problems I had, the issue with the door seals and how I felt lied to. The big guy did all the talking and seemed generally concerned that I be taken care of. Maybe he’s just good at his job.
We made an appointment and the car went in the following Monday. I got a rental Corolla (yawn). Part of the deal was that I was to get to see what they found out when they opened up the doors. I went down there and it was a very dissatisfying experience. There was no smoking gun, no place you could point and say “See! That’s not right!” The body shop manager tried to play it off in several ways. Looks like someone tried to break into the car. The right and left trim were different. We even checked a very ratty Mazda3 on their used lot and found that not to be the case. He then called Mazda to see if the parts had changed causing them to fit differently. Nope.
In the end, after another week in the shop I’m told my car is done. They did not replace the door skins, they were able to straiten everything without that. I’m skeptical, but when I show up to get the car, they look pretty darn good. I’m pleasantly surprised. They reworked the putty that was a mess and somehow got the seals to line up like they should. I’m not sure how, and I’m not sure I want to know. I decided it was time to move on.
So I now have a car that I’m more or less OK with. I still love the looks, interior and how it drives. One good thing was that they also replaced my stolen rear emblem and touched the paint up for free.
I learned 2 lessons from this saga:

  1. Never buy a car from Ricart. Maybe I’m over generalizing here, but it seemed that this was par for the course for them. I’m not just talking about their reputation as evidenced by that web site. I’m talking about the demeanor of the staff. For the most part, they were not alarmed that this had happened. Nor did they even remotely share my feelings that this was out of line and even fraudulent. If anything, their attitude showed that I was a thorn in their side and they simply wanted to do what they needed to get me to go away.
  2. never buy a car with ‘minor damage’. If a dealer tells you that, run and don’t look back. If you must chase that savings, get a detailed report of that was repaired and look that area over very carefully. Even better, have an independent body shop look at it. Had I gotten a detailed report, I believe that I would have noticed the problems with those doors. I would have also known that the damage was not minor and would have likely passed on the car.

Well, you live and learn. I suspect that this isn’t over completely. Oh, I won’t have to deal with Ricart again, but as the car ages I suspect that those doors and the other repairs will not age as gracefully as the rest of the car. There’s really nothing more I can do and dragging it out further with legal action is only going to keep me emotionally worked up until it’s done. I’d rather just let it go. It’s only a car, after all, it’s not going to last ultimately.

Ezekiel -Chapter 29-31

Ezekiel 29:6 – Again – after I have rebuked you and disciplined you then you will know that I am Lord. It’s a constant theme.
Ezekiel 29:13-14 – It sounds much like the promises made to Israel. Gathering from being scattered, restoration of their kingdom. That is, until you read verse 15:

It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and never again exalt itself above the nations. And I will make them so small that they will never again rule over the nations.

Ezekiel 30 – It’s interesting that for all the nations around Israel, not necessarily enemies (maybe they were, I don’t know), but not friends either, God laments their destruction too.
Ezekiel 30:20 – God placed His sword in the hands of the King of Babylon. I’m not sure I’d want to take that responsibility, to wield God’s sword.
Ezekiel 31:8-9 – God here compares Pharaoh to a cedar and says that no tree in His garden was comparable, or it’s equal. Interesting, what does that mean? Perhaps it’s simply a commentary on his stature relative to the kings of Israel, meaning he held more power and influence. Not a commentary on his importance to God, but on his stature in the world.

Tagged! – Eight Things

We just got back from vacation this week and I’ve got several blog things to get caught up on. One is a followup on the car situation, two is a followup on my Movable Type post from a few months ago and lastly, but not leastly (leastly?), I’m long overdue to continue my posts on Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.
Look for those coming up, but first, I discovered that Gary Petersen tagged me earlier this week. The meme is list of 8 things you, my flock of regular readers, don’t know about me. Hmmm, let’s see what I can come up with.

  1. I nearly didn’t make it into the University of Cincinnati. The Industrial Design department had a sort of an art test that I had to take as a part of the application. Being the dedicated student I was [cough, cough], I scribbled something on the sketch pages and sent it in. Mom called UC to inquire on my application (I was indifferent) and she was told it wasn’t that impressive. She talked them into having me down for an interview, she talked to me about maybe taking this a little more seriously and I brought my portfolio down during a pretty serious snow storm. They liked what they saw and I got in. Whew, and thanks Mom.
  2. A couple of weeks ago I had to move my 8′ x 10′ Tuff Shed across my yard because I misread my lot plan and had it installed in the gas pipeline easement. Thankfully, those Tuff Sheds are very sturdy with a 6″ tall steel frame, so it was pretty easy to jack up and roll around on some 4″ PVC pipes (like the Egyptians did building the pyramids). My friend’s 4WD ATV helped too.
  3. I owe meeting my wife to 2 of her prior boyfriends. She was actually engaged to one of them. He moved from Columbia MO to Indianapolis IN and she followed. When she became a Christian and he wasn’t interested, she broke it off. Later, she met a guy from Cincinnati and they started dating. It became serious and she moved to Cinci to be near him. Before she moved, she prayed and asked God not to let her move unless she was going to get married. A month later, they broke up. She and I met a couple months after that and were engaged later that year.
  4. When I was in elementary school, I loved the book Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and read it several times. Super-smart rats with an underground mechanized society, what’s not to like?
  5. I nearly dropped out of college in my freshman year to be an auto body mechanic. It took my parents an hour or two on the phone to talk me out of it. Thanks again Mom (and Dad).
  6. I was in the marching band in both High School and college. It was a blast and I loved it. I was even a part of the honorary band fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. I was disappointed to have to drop band because of a schedule conflict after my second year at UC.
  7. I have a mild case of Scoliosis. The oldest daughter does too and it seems like #2 will as well. None thus far have required treatment.
  8. When we lived in the Detroit area I played, for a short time, in a church Motown/60s rock band named West Grand Boulevard. I played Alto, Tenor and Baritone Sax, tambourine and vocals. I was the ‘Ahhh’ in The Zombies’ song, ‘The Time of the Season‘. (You know, “What’s your name? (What’s your name?)/Who’s your daddy? (Who’s your daddy?)/(He rich?) Is he rich like me?”) It was a ton of fun, until they gave me the boot ’cause I couldn’t play in tune. Really.

There you go. Now I’m supposed to tag some more folks. That’s always the tough part. You hate making folks do stuff, but you gotta follow the rules.

Comment here or trackback when you’ve posted yours.

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