Of Elders Meetings, Atheists, and Huskers

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Steve Pelluer…

At the beginning of last night’s elders / ministers  meeting, one of our saintly-est members walked in out of the blue to pray for us. He told us he appreciated us, that he prays for us every day, and that he believes we’re all doing the right things. He prayed for us. He thanked God for us. He asked God to bless us and our families. He asked God to protect us. And this wonderful man thanked us again for allowing him the privilege of working for the Lord at this congregation. Then he begged us to use him even more. As he walked out, he patted a few of us on the back. We had been blessed.

A similar thing happened at the beginning of last month’s meeting. A couple who have only been Legacy members for about eight weeks popped in to meet everybody. They shook our  hands, and expressed a desire to pray for us. They told us they loved this church, they supported the leadership, and they had every intention of getting busy in God’s work here. And we prayed. And we were blessed.

What a breath of fresh air. What a shot in the arm. What a glorious gift of affirmation and encouragement from our Father through these dear brothers and sisters. And what a carry-over effect it seems to have throughout our meeting! Both of our past two meetings have gone really, really well. I think we’re happier, more confident, more willing to step up and do the right things, less willing to get bogged down in unimportant matters.

We always open up our time together in those Thursday meetings with a passage from Scripture and prayer. I’ve always thought that’s the best way to begin any elders’ meeting — the only way. Now, I’m re-thinking it. The past two meetings have started off really nicely.

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By now you’ve seen the stories and heard the news about the four city of Fort Worth buses that will be sporting atheist advertising on their sides beginning next week. The DFW Coalition of Reason purchased the ads for a little over $2,480 to run for 30 days. They say the slogan on the boards, “Millions of Americans are good without God,” is intended to encourage people who don’t believe in God during the Christmas season when they can feel so left out and isolated. The Christians who are being interviewed for the stories, however, see the billboards as offensive and insulting.

Yeah, the ads are insulting to Christian disciples. To suggest that one must abandon all reason to accept God as Almighty Creator or Christ as Lord is terribly offensive to me.

Now there are groups of church leaders and pastors and ministers who are pushing for a boycott of the Fort Worth Public Transit system as long as the ads are displayed on the sides of these four buses. One local preacher I saw on TV last night declared something along the lines of “If the signs go up, we will walk!” He added that their Christian boycott will “force” the city to remove these ads that “don’t agree with what we believe!” The premise of a boycott is that the offenders will be pressured by money, the potential loss of money, and bow to the boycotters’ demands. It’s an economic battle. A fight fought with weapons of money and commerce.

I know that Christ Jesus never forced his way onto anybody. He never imposed his will on anybody. He never used a position of strength to get his way. He never gathered up large groups of disciples to subdue by power those who opposed him. He never tried to influence with money. He never threatened. He never intimidated or bullied. What in the world makes Christians today think that’s the best way to handle these kinds of situations?

I imagine actually riding the buses would be a much better idea for Christians who really do want to be more like their King. I imagine the billboards would provide the perfect starter for spiritual conversations. I imagine perfect strangers on these buses — especially on one of the four buses — will be talking about the ads. “Hey, we’re actually riding one of the buses that’s causing all the uproar!”

“I don’t think it’s that big a deal. What do you think?”

And there it is. Your opportunity to share your faith. Your opening to profess your belief in a Sovereign God and his crucified and resurrected Son. Your platform to declare your hope and your peace and the heavenly source of your eternal life.

Every day we’re met with moments in which we can act like Christ or act in a way that denies Christ. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a “christian boycott.”

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Nebraska plays OU for the Big XII title tomorrow night. And I’m torn.

On the one hand, everything in my very, very Texas bones cries out against Zero-U. My four years at Oklahoma Christian and exposure to Sooners fans there only solidified my inherited bias against the Crimson and Cream. I can’t root for OU.

But, Nebraska? I can’t cheer for them either. I’ve never personally held anything agaisnt Nebraska. I always thought Tom Osbourn versus Barry Switzer was an easy call. But Bo Pelini is a different story. Hard to root for a guy who seemingly treats players and officials and his own coaches as less than human. But the bigger issue at hand is Nebraska’s pending Big XII defection. They’re leaving the conference, abandoning the league because they feel they’re mistreated by a Texas bias. We can’t have the Huskers leave the Big XII with the championship trophy!

It should be a fantastic game. The bitter hatred between these two teams goes back more than a hundred years. This is one of the greatest rivalries in college football. And there hasn’t been this much riding on a Nebraska-Oklahoma game in decades. It’ll be nuts inside Jerry’s Stadium. And I’m going to be blessed to enjoy the game wtih one of my greatest friends, good ol’ Dan Miller, and his family. Dan is a Husker to the core. Life long. He grew up just outside Lincoln. Went to school at Nebraska. He’s been foaming at the mouth for a month.

You won’t catch me wearing red. And I’ll never sing that most banal and tiresome of fight songs, Boomer Sooner. But I’m cheering for Zero-U tomorrow.

Don’t tell anybody.

Peace,

Allan

2 Comments

  1. Paul D

    In reverse order:

    Boomer Sooner !!!!!

    The slogan to be displayed on the buses is a true statement – absolutely true. But, being good is not the issue. As my Daddy replied to a man who he was discussing God with and the man said he could be good without being a Christian: “No Doubt, but can you go to Heaven as your inheritance?”

    My only regret is that I was not there and the one doing the praying.

    Paul

  2. Dan Miller

    It’s a Great Day in Texas

    As I heard on the radio yesterday

    If you take God out of Good all you have left is Zero!

    And Speaking of Zero-U One of the Most unifying things about Texas and Nebraska is we both detest OU. It is like this, I would drive around Oklahoma than through it. I mean havent they kept that road construction going on I-35 for the past 25 years just to irritate the both of us.

    Any way it is going to be a Great Game. Full of Tradition.

    And if you happen to hear the Nebraska Fight song tonight on the tube, try putting these words to the tune

    There is no place like Nebraska
    Dear old Nebraska U
    Where the girls are the fairest
    The boys are the squarest
    Of any old place that I knew
    There is no place like Nebraska
    Where they’re all true blue
    We’ll all stick together in all kinds of weather
    For dear old Nebraska U.

    Smile

    GBR = Go Big Red

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