Tag Archives: weird

Playing It Safe is Weird

Fruit cups. Face masks. Freedoms. They don’t seem to have much in common, but they all came across my path yesterday and reminded me that a life that plays it safe is kind of weird. Playing it safe is like sleeping through life, you miss way too much.

From Joe Verses The Volcano

Fruit cups. This week is mayhem at our little community church. We are in the week of VBS – vacation bible school. And with about 100 kids, 50 workers, and one truly weird pastor – it is a blast. And we’re feeding every one too. Much planning is going into the meal prep. We are doing grab and go bags, doing our best to keep social distancing on tables, and have all we can presealed and prepacked. Daily the workers prepack the 175 bags with some items for the next day.

And yesterday, fruit cups were being put into the bags. But I noticed a problem. The cups were outdated – they had a “best by December 2019” on the side. Oops.

Debate followed on the terms “best by’ and “sale by” and “expired,” No one volunteered to taste it. The food supply company said they were fine and this is a normal practice (eight months past, really?).

I tried to get my secretary to taste them, like Nehemiah – be my cupbearer and prevent poison from ever getting to my lips. If she got sick, we wouldn’t give them to the kids. She refused. Eventually we conned our local fire chief to try them. Tasted a bit weird he said.

So they were replaced with some apples. Five boxes of fruit cups … wasted. There was no taking chances. We played it safe.

Face masks. Yeah I know the debate is touchy. Wear, don’t wear? Is it mandatory or suggested? It’s not a law but they have given store owners permission to call the police if you don’t. I’ve seen mask shaming on non-wearers. It’s a weird time.

And in my rural town, many wear them to Kroger’s or Walmart, but not eating establishments. Church seems to be a location wear the mask protocols seem to be very lax as well.

So we play it safe on fruit cups but not face masks. Where do we draw the line?

These masks don’t help

Freedoms. You can gather to “protest” but not to worship. You can shout anti-Trump/anti-Biden/anti-anything and march, but not sing in worship. You can carry guns but not use them to protect your property from a mob. You can write whatever you want on Twitter or Facebook but if we don’t like it, we will cancel culture your life to oblivion.

So most of us just hunker down and play it safe. I don’t really like to talk politics anymore, and prefer discussions on grace rather then race. I try to stay non-confrontational. But is that the best thing to do?

I believe we were created to be risk takers and live life of adventure. But we were also created to grow in wisdom, thus knowing when to play it safe and avoid danger. We thrive in challenges and shrivel in routine.

One of my favorite movies is Joe Verses the Volcano. Truly weird. And there on the volcano rim, Meg Ryan tells Tom Hanks, “we’ll jump and we will see, that’s life.”

And in many ways (of course not in ways that endanger the health of our kids) but in most of life, we need to take those leaps of faith, to move into the dark path knowing he is with us, to go through the valley of the shadow of death without fear, and to stop playing it safe.

  • Talk to that new person that moved in last month
  • Apply for that new job
  • Try new hobbies, hike new trails, taste new meals
  • Adventure into new areas of ministry
  • Sing new songs in worship
  • take a road trip with no real destination
  • Stop playing it safe all the time – wake up

And I truly believe – if for no other reason than just the satisfaction of taking a risk – I believe you’ll enjoy it , maybe a whole lot!

Our Pastor is Weird

Some pastors are super cool – play the drums, wear the latest trends, drive a sleek car. Some pastors are physically conditioned beasts – biceps like guns, bench press a small car, every shirt is form fitted to show the pecs. Some pastors are over the top handsome – GQ material, pearly white teeth that shine, eyes that sparkle, and always ready for the camera.

But our church has a whole new category. He (and by he, I mean me) is weird. We could talk about his clothes, a quirky and eclectic collection, or his lack of any real talent (no musical or any tangible skills), or his sense of humor that gets lost in his presentation. Don’t even get me started on his physique, which is more a cover for Mad Magazine then GQ. What we will talk about is barf. Yes, you read that right, barf.

Last night at the kids program, he shined in his weirdness. He helped just briefly in the craft rotation. He put four 3rd grade boys together at one craft table. The leaders threatened him for such an act – and told the preacher he would have to stay and keep monitor over those four rowdy, squirmy, attention grabbing lads. They were making small wind chimes and coloring the train that was emphasizing how they were kept on track by Jesus.

The ideal result

He said they should put a person in the window, or a dog, anything. One drew the pastor. And when the pastor asked the lad what the pastor was doing on the train, he said “barfing.” So for the next 5 minutes, barf was colored everywhere. Green markers busy at work. Barf sounds coming from kids and preacher alike. They colored and laughed and had fun.

The results we got

And one little boy gave the pastor a special drawn picture for his office … the official version of “The Pastor’s Barf Train” in all its splendor. This will be hung with pride.

The adult group and craft leaders (all women) looked on with those looks that scare most men. Heads were shaken. Eyes were rolled. And all acknowledged … our pastor is weird.

We hope the boys learned the Bible lesson. We pray the songs of God’s strength are remembered and they really know He loves them. But we, well me, the pastor who’s been writing about myself in the 3rd person … I hope these boys make a connection with me, know they can talk with me, realize I am normal albeit weird – not just a boring preacher. And if I can show the love of Christ, connecting with them by talking and coloring barf, then let green crayons run wild.

One year I let the kids body pint me and then I jump into a piece of wood paneling to create body splat art … it kind of hurt, but super weird! Kind of looks like barf.

So I’m weird and I’m proud of it.

Praying is Kind of Weird

Praying is weird … have you ever really thought about it. Here we are … tiny little specs in relation to the whole universe. And if there are multiverses, whoa. We have no real reason to stick out and deserve any attention from the BIG, POWERFUL, AWESOME CREATOR we call LORD.

And that’s just our galaxy!

Praying is kind of weird. I get God is big. But prayers have to be a pain. We whine and fuss and complain and ask for the silliest things. I mean, how many people want to win the lottery or get the girl of their dreams or pass a test at school after not studying. And does God really care who wins between the Cowboys and the “soon to be renamed, yet always will be remembered as” Redskins? Okay, maybe this one does matter. Go Washington, whatever mascot you’re going by this week.

I love the scene from Bruce Almighty when Bruce is answering prayers by email. Just says “yes” to everyone.

This didn’t work out so well

And one more thought on why praying is kind of weird. What do you say? We have troubling talking to each other, difficulty in communicating with our spouse, kids, neighbors, etc. We stumble, mumble, and grumble with our words. And now, the Big Man Himself wants a powwow? What could we possibly say?

So, three reasons. First one on BIG GOD – tiny me. I don’t get it, but He loves us and listens to us. And He is BIG enough to listen to each one of us uniquely. He’s that BIG.

Second, I do think He dislikes trivial prayers. But I also think He knows our hearts and He really just wants that. And when we love Him and know Him and trust Him completely, when he has ur whole hearts, trivial prayers will fade away.

And that leads us to the third one, what do you really say? Let me answer that with a tweetable quote …

Maybe we don’t know what to say to God, because we don’t know what God has already said to us

Stole from somewhere so long ago, I can’t remember who said it first

That line hits me hard every time. So read His Word. Meditate on it. Learn it. Hide it in your heart. Pray the promises. Shout the praises. Cast your burdens on Him. Seek His wisdom.

God’s Word … read it. Today.

Get a Little Weird … It’s a Revolution

Steal a brain. Igor had one job. It was pretty simple. Steal a brain.

Head to the lab and get the brain for our monster, so was the instructions of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein gave to his assistant Igor. And he did. But when the monster awoke, Dr. Fred realized Igor had gotten the wrong brain. When asked whose brain he got, he said, “Abby something …. Abby Normal.”

Classic scene from Young Frankenstein.

But I ponder, if he had gotten my brain, would it be different too? Normal just isn’t working. Look around us – hate, confusion, division, greed, racism, moral standards stretched (or even thrown out), selfishness, and more. And in the church – pride, arrogance, selfishness, judgmental attitudes … and lifestyles that look more like the world than that which you see in Scripture.

This is not an article of condemnation, but hopefully a word to encourage us to be different. But a difference with a purpose.

Matthew says Jesus went throughout the land teaching the gospel, teaching followers. And in chapters 5 to 7, we get the best summation, a powerful description, of what it looks like for a follower, and a community of followers, to be completely surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. And it is a counter-cultural, radical, and revolutionary lifestyle that is, well, weird. It is different than the world’s take …

  • Blessed are the meek … not the power brokers or arrogant
  • Turn the other cheek … not the “bring a gun to a knife fight” mentality
  • Lay up treasures in heaven … not in banks, property, etc
  • Even anger is dangerous and undesired, equal to murder … not the “only our actions are what matters”
  • Only one way to heaven … not “all roads lead to heaven”
  • Love your enemy …
  • and so much more

Can you imagine if we loved this way. People would take notice. They may mock us and take advantage of us, or they may admire us and desire to know what makes us different. But they can’t ignore us. And the reason we do this is to bring Him pleasure and to let others see Jesus in us.

Too many times, I see myself more worldly than spiritual. But I also know God’s not finished with me yet. I am still learning and growing and surrendering and not giving up.

Maybe one day, when my brain is stuck on a shelf in a pickle jar … and Igor grabs my brain … it will be a brain that is known as loving, kind, compassionate, full of grace, and pointing to Jesus.

And if that’s abnormal, I’m okay with that. I’m a revolutionary.

What about you?