“Now, about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.” ~1 Thessalonians 4:9
Paul claims that God has taught us how to love one another. We don’t need to talk about living together in Christian community, we don’t need to write about loving and serving one another within our church family, because every single thing we need to know, God’s already taught us. Everything we need to know about service and love we’ve been taught by God through his self-sacrificing Son. Everything. We just follow his lead. We bear one another’s burdens. Like Jesus who took up our infirmities and carried our diseases, we too support the sick, lift up the weak, and encourage the fainthearted. We defend the helpless and protect the hurting. We feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, and give that cup of cold water in Jesus’ name.
If anything, God has taught us through Jesus that living together in Christian family is all about people. Genuine Christian love and service is shown to people, it’s not lavished on some high principle. We love people, not ideas. We serve each other, not our doctrines and traditions.
You know, we talk a lot about our Christian community, our church. It’s a continuous topic of serious conversation. Is the church growing or not? Is the church strong or not? Are we becoming too liberal or too conservative? Is that church doctrinally sound (whatever that means)? How’s their attendance? What’s our contribution? Do they have a praise team? Are we going to do small groups?
Listen to me: Lost people don’t care! People with burdens and illnesses don’t care! People dying in sin, people without hope, people in our communities who are looking for the ultimate and eternal answers don’t care!
We talk a lot about change in our churches. Some of us are really for it; some of us are really against it. We’ll get more people if we change. We’ll get more people if we never change. We’ll get more people if we go back to the way things used to be. We’ll get more people if we move ahead to where everybody else is going. We talk about change, and it usually means we’re talking about what we do 75-minutes in the worship center on Sunday mornings. And it means nothing to the lost!
We can rip down our screens and burn all the computers and hum Gregorian chants that were written a thousand years ago. Or we can bring in a 50-piece orchestra and pass out a hundred microphones and sing only contemporary praise songs that were written last month. Either way, the lost are not saved. The burdened are not relieved. The downtrodden are not lifted.
Oh, yeah, we need to change. We definitely need to change. We need to change the way we look at things. We need to raise our vision. People need love and comfort and healing and acceptance and peace. They need fellowship. They need life together with the Body of Christ.
How do we do it? Again, we follow the lead of Christ. We love each other the way he loves us. We serve one another the way he serves us. We sacrifice for each other and bear each other’s burdens. Just like our Christ. It’s not about programs and numbers, it’s not about money and image. Life together in Christ is always about people.
It took Jerry Wayne two years to discover what most NFL observers have known for a long, long time: Rob Ryan is not a good defensive coordinator. The brash brother of Rex and son of Buddy was fired by the Cowboys last night, ending an experiment that was doomed from the start.
Never mind Ryan’s outrageous demeanor on the sidelines, in the press, and out on the town that so completely opposed the head coach’s button-down, strait-laced personality. Never mind the outsized ego that made him the focus of intense attention and coverage that undermined what the team was trying to do at every turn. Never mind the continuous stream of profanity that Ryan unleashed on reporters, opponents, fans, Cowboys personnel, game officials, and office staff. Some of it was muttered under his breath, some of it was shouted from a full throat and a red face, but it was constant and enough to make even Norv Turner blush. Never mind the Jerry Garcia hairdo and the weight, which only added to Ryan’s entirely unprofessional bag of nothing. All of those things and more contributed to Ryan’s image which was an embarrassment to the whole organization.
If you just looked at his career on the field, that would be enough. The Cowboys were 19th in total defense in the NFL this year, the best ranking for a Rob Ryan defense in his nine-year career as a defensive coordinator. During those nine years, Ryan has never coached a defense to a winning record, much less a playoff berth. This season, Ryan’s defense forced a franchise-record-low sixteen total turnover, including a league-low seven interceptions. Cowboys’ opponents converted 40.1% of their third downs this year, good for the bottom third of the league. Again.
It’s significant that Garrett is the one who fired Ryan over the phone last night, not Jerry Wayne. Apparently, Jerry is letting Jason make this call and will bring in the defensive coordinator the head coach wants. That’s a switch. It might signal that this next year is a do-or-die for season for Garrett and Jerry wanted to judge him when Garrett had his own hand-picked coaches and system. Garrett mentioned a “change in defensive philosophy” last night. Might that mean a return to the 4-3 and an occasional blitz? Maybe. Hopefully.
Firing Ryan last night was something. It’ll help some; it couldn’t make things worse. Of course, if Jerry really wanted to do something that would appease the angry fans, drive ticket sales up, and please his coach and his team, he would fire the General Manager.