Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Giving at Christmastime

Some rambling thoughts about giving at this time of the year:

God began the giving by giving the most costly gift ever given!

Giving is truly giving when nothing is expected in return.

Giving needs to take into account the real needs of those to whom we are giving, or we may have given the wrong gift.

Orchestrated giving where we agree to buy each other gifts is not giving either as it's expected and .... see above.

The body of Christ has in many ways forgot how to give.

In America we would be in far worst financial and economic stress, if people would give only to needs of friends and relatives rather than giving to wants and expectations.

The Voice

Communication in our times has become a very interesting venture, with many avenues to carry on conversation with one another. Because of the myriad of ways, we can sometimes be trite in what we communicate, meaning that we really don't mean what we write or say or we try to impress people with our supposed knowledge on a certain subject. Truthfulness is many times lost in the outcome. Some of these problems are to be expected in that each of us comes at a topic from our own individual backgrounds and previous information we've learned.

We also say a lot by what we really don't verbalize through body language, gestures, facial expressions, etc. Since in many venues of communication today we are not face to face and thus only have words in print, it really becomes a matter of putting words together carefully so our voice is communicating as nearly to what we really intent to reflect.

This is one of the reasons I've been so long in posting this new edition as I've thought through the implications of my past two blogs and even though I've had ideas for this and future editions my reluctance to post is my attempt to be clear as possible on the message.

What is the voice we need to hear? The body of believers needs to be clear in its communication with the world. Since we remain so fragmented, as noted in a past blog, the message to those outside is very garbled. Each faction presents usually only part of what I believe Christ would have the church present. In a sense this is incongruent body language on our part and we wonder why we are so often misunderstood.

Another example of the problem is when parts of the body pick one part of what we should be saying and say it loudly, in as many ways as possible, and declare it to be the only thing that matters; we again disrupt communication of central points of our faith. Facial expressions and improper tone of voice do not make it more important. I could mention certain issues that come to mind on this point but that would be beside the point.

Sometimes the way we behave and act says so much more than what we actually verbalize. To understand this point I will give an example. What do you think someone who truly is living in poverty with a variety of financial and social needs thinks when he hears that Jesus cares about his troubles but hears it coming from a studio with marvelous furniture and located in a huge magnificent edifice with a parking lot full of the latest model SUV's and being driven by folks in the finest designer clothes? Most of the church truly cannot speak to the real needs of the world because we do not truly understand their plight. Because of this conundrum our voice becomes silent as more and more often, those in poverty will turn away from the voice which should not only be telling the good news but really understanding it in it's entirety.

Church! we need to speak loudly so all can hear the good news but we need to make sure we are also bearing the good news. This is also part of the voice.