Head on over to my other website to see the latest edition of Sharing the Journey: Encountering the Word. In this episode we take a look at Luke 10 – another variation of The Good Shepherd passage that we’ll hear on Sunday.
I started a new video series called Sharing the Journey: Encountering the Word. (With some help from some good friends!). Each week we’ll take a look at one of the Scripture texts from the Lectionary a bit more in depth and have a call to action. This week we take a look at the reading from Acts 4.
Apparently we’re supposed to care what color and what phrases are written on Starbuck’s coffee cups.
Yes, I’ve seen the video. I didn’t think anything of it for a couple of reasons – 1. I don’t drink coffee, so what do I care what Starbucks does with their cups. If you don’t like their cups, don’t go there. You’re probably paying too much for the coffee anyway. 2. It reminded me of a video that an upstart campaign would make.
While most people are going to spend time fighting for or against the guy in the video, I’m going to give you a different perspective and some observations.
Observation #1 – If you want to attract attention, do something controversial. This guy hit this one right on the head apparently. He’s got the full mix of things – He’s pastor. He looks like Paul Blart, Mall Cop. He shows a gun in the video. Starbucks. And the War on Christmas. Combine all that and you have a recipe for controversy.
Observation #2 – If you want something to go viral, either video animals or do something that will get your enemies upset. Either way, you are tugging at people’s emotions. Since I didn’t see any cute kittens, I’m guessing that this guy was going for anger and supposed victimhood.
Observation #3 – The very people who disagree with everything he stated have been the biggest promoters of his video and gave him exactly what he wanted – attention for his message. He ought to be paying these people. I can tell you this much, if I were him, I’d be smiling big time.
This is something I learned in politics – the point of a campaign is to draw attention to yourself and your message. This is why Donald Trump is doing so well. He says outrageous things and guess what, lots of people respond, with lots of name calling and emotion. And when you are attacked, there will be people to come to your defense. And when people do that – they are emotionally investing in you and have more interest in seeing you succeed.
Want to know how to deal with people like this – stop paying attention to them. Stop responding to them. Recognize that the point is to rile up anyone who disagrees with the person. If you respond, what is that actually saying? It says that you feel threatened by this person’s message or this person and have to defend yourself or go on the attack. Why would you do that? Because you believe that there is an actual threat.
Or when you see a video like this you could say – “whatever” and move on with life, never to spend another moment thinking about this, except that you might want to rent Mall Cop 2.
Yes, I’m going to do something daring in this post. I’m going to use the “F” word in relation to church. I know this bold and daring thing that I’m about to do will cause some to rise us and try to shout me out. Or maybe there will be some people who will point to specific verses in the Bible and show me the error of my ways.
I’m prepared to deal with those reactions.
Buckle up, here goes.
There, I said it. Wait, you thought I was going to say something else didn’t you? Although, am I really all that off with some churches? When is the last time you truly had fun in church? When is the last time you came out of church feeling like you had a great time, heard a great message and feel ready to take on the day?
Or is church just supposed to be something that you do because you’ve always done it? Is church supposed to be stuffy and boring? How about full of rules and do’s and don’ts? Is church supposed to be all business?
Church isn’t a free for all, but it’s also not a courtroom either. As with most things, when we move towards an extreme, it usually destroys that thing. No wonder people give up on the church – the church gave up on them. All the rules and do this or do that is really just a message that says “we don’t trust you.”
But what would happen if we had some fun in church? What creativity would take place? How would that affect the mission? How would that impact the relationships that are built? How would that impact how the building gets used?
Church does some serious things and should. Life isn’t all fun and games. However, there are times when fun is the perfect answer. The church supposedly has the best news in the history of creation – the Good News. And yet, you’d think this news was nothing more than the legal print for a chair you bought at IKEA and have to put together yourself. Not all churches have a challenge with fun. But some do.
I’ll leave you with a video. It’s a video that promotes thefuntheory.com. Watch it.
What if we took the idea, the main idea, behind this video and applied it to church? I wonder what would happen. I wonder how much trust would be built. I wonder who would be drawn to the church. I wonder how lives would be changed. I wonder how people would receive the Good News. I wonder if people would want to be around a place like that. I wonder if people would see the people at that church as something more than just a bunch of fun people, but people who actually trust others, who care about others and their ideas and their lives. I wonder if people would see a group of people who would be committed to walking with a person through their dark times. I wonder if people would see a people living out the joy that they proclaim. I wonder.
A friend of mine sent me this video. For some of you reading this, you’ll be highly offended and say “There they go again, that’s ridiculous.” And others will be shouting “Amen!” from the rooftops. I’m sure there will be a whole range of emotions and responses.
After you get past your initial reaction, look at the video again. Forget the policy behind the arguments, that’s not what the video is about.
It’s about rhetoric. It’s the part of politics that makes me want to throw up in my mouth. Those on the left could just as easily do a similar video showing how ridiculous the arguments of the right are when they are mashed together.
Having a long history in the world of politics, I often hear people using the lines from the video, and others. In fact, I hear people on both sides of the political spectrum use the same lines to make opposing arguments. I remember people on the left making criticisms about President Bush. And then what’s great is that people who have an opposite view and ripped the criticisms to shreds turn around and use the same criticisms on President Obama. The person in office may change, but the criticism is the same.
The great thing about rhetoric is that it is easy and cheap. It kills debate. And that’s its purpose. Political rhetoric is not designed to assist people in the search for truth. It is meant to prove a point and show that “I” am right.
I’m just as guilty as anyone else who has used a cheap 15 second sound bite line just so I could be right. And what did that get me? So I was “right,” but what happened to the truth, or to the relationship with the person I was talking with?
Many times when I hear rhetoric it comes out like this – President (fill-in-the-blank) is such a (left or right) winger. Can you believe what he has done in pushing (fill in the blank with some policy that the speaker doesn’t like). You know, he’s owned by (insert name of rich person who is supposedly out to ruin the country). Yeah, (same rich person) is using (insert name of special interest group/s) to load the (Democrat/Republican) party with people who can’t think for themselves. (The conversation, and I’m using that loosely, then turns into talking about how the President named is a dolt and at the same time an evil genius).
The only thing that’s needed at the end is a fundraising appeal for a political party.
And if you think that was an exaggeration, listen to the next few political conversations that occur. Or check out some of the things that people post on facebook.
Now, I’m not saying that these people are bad or evil. They aren’t. I don’t even think most people are conscious that they are doing this. That’s the beauty and danger of political rhetoric. It gets in us and works on our emotions. Rhetoric is useful because we can align it with our worldview and condense everything down into a short sentence.
My questions are this – Why are you saying what you are saying? Do you really believe those who disagree with you are out to ruin the country? Why? How would that benefit them? What is it that you really want to see happen? How does your faith inform how you respond? What is God calling you to do as a result? Is God calling you to a cheap rhetoric without any type of action? I doubt it.
See what happens when questions start to be asked? It opens a window of possibility that did not exist before. Things we may have never considered.
We can spend so much time complaining about politics, those that disagree with us, and the state of our nation. That’s easy to do, and when we do, it feels like we have done something or it’s an easy way to say that we can’t do anything about it. But I don’t buy it. I tend to believe that our faith informs our politics and that we are free from having to be puppet voice for any political party.
I wonder what would happen if instead of using political rhetoric to support an opinion, people just started asking questions. I wonder what would happen if people started talking about what they want to see happen, as opposed to stating what they don’t want to see happen. I wonder what would happen if we examined the statements and beliefs of our opponents to see how they came to their conclusions – would we learn anything? I wonder…
The link posted is to an article that has a video interview of Zach Galifianakis and President Obama. Watch the video. When you are done, watch it a second time with this caveat – leave your thoughts and opinions about Obama and health insurance reform/ACA/Obamacare (or whatever you want to call it) behind. Watch it from the standpoint of how the video connects to people.
I have many years of political campaign experience. Obama is not one of my favorite political figures to say the least. But I have to give credit where it’s due. This was a brilliant campaign move for a law that is unpopular and instills anger in people who oppose the law for any number of reasons.
The beauty of the video is that it disarms people with the use of humor. It’s well done and even Obama plays along very well.
The effectiveness of this video is stated very well in the last paragraph of the article – “The gambit appears to have worked as intended. According to a tweet from a White House senior communications advisor, the No. 1 referrer to HealthCare.Gov today is the Funny or Die website.”
Well done. Nice move!
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