No Country for Old Men or Old Beagles

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     On Wednesday two very interesting things happened to me.  I was sitting on my couch watching "Reign over Me" with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle, when I began hearing our youngest beagle Whitley barking like crazy.  It is strange for Beagles, but our dogs don’t really bark so this was a little weird.  I got up and went to window to look outside.  As I peered out the window I saw Whitley barking at our other dog Erwin who was lying on the ground.  Now Erwin has this habit of getting out of the yard so we have him on this tie down that connects his collar to one of our porch posts.  After barking a few more times Whitley grabbed part of Erwin’s tie down rope about three feet from his collar and began to pull him across the yard.  Erwin laid on his back and let Whitley drag him across the yard.  She really wanted to play and he really wanted to just sit there and do nothing.  Now when we take Erwin to walk in the park we have to make sure that we walk him in the center of the track, because when all four of his paws feel grass he will turn over on his back and let us drag him.  He is just weird like that.  But, I couldn’t help feeling that what I was witnessing was something I felt was happening at the church.

     Later Wednesday afternoon I went to the mall to watch "No Country for Old Men" by the Coen brothers.  It was an amazing movie.  I really can’t ring it’s praises enough and as I have read other reviews of the film, neither can anyone else.  The movie poster you see has a line in the movie that struck me, "You can’t stop what’s coming.  Trying makes it all about you and that is pure vanity."  This moved through me with clarity as I thought about how we sometimes refuse to change because we like the way things are and we don’t want them to change because WE don’t want to change.  Change in the church is hard and it means that some of us will have to learn something new or become "divinely uncomfortable" in order for the message to reach different people.  Divinely uncomfortable refers to an Ed Young, Jr. message where Ed said that God is going to change us and move us in uncomfortable ways.  And for many us, in order for the message to be communicated to different people we are going to have to change our approach or methods.  Otherwise, like what I saw with the dogs, us older believers began to waste the talent, time, and resources of younger believers who have a vision for reaching their generation.  They end up spending their time getting us to change instead of causing life change in the lives of unbelievers.  Vanity.  It becomes all about us.  We must remember that there needs to be an element of the church that is about spreading the Gospel to people who are different than us.

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