Monday, January 24, 2011

Crap Detectors

Pastor Dave and the Crap Detector
The pastor of Madison Square Church, David Beelen, who has been my pastor since 1986 has taught his congregants for years that they need to have "crap detectors".  My children used to giggle when they were younger and heard that phrase - in fact, if it offends you, I apologize and suggest that you stop reading this blog post now.  My father, who was a pastor, probably would never have dared to use the word "crap" from the pulpit.  But Pastor Dave believed in it so much that he used to have a visual image of a crap detector at the front of church for some time to illustrate his point.  He encouraged us to always have our crap detectors on, even when listening to his sermons.  We needed test everything we heard within the context of the Bible - to measure people's words against the Word.

Bob also had a pretty sophisticated crap detector, being a therapist.  He could smell someone being manipulative a mile away and didn't hesitate to call people on it, as I'm sure some of you can attest.  So crap detectors are on pretty constantly at our house and that causes many debates.  I'm so thankful that Hannah and Noah have had this important tool taught to them at both church and home.

Sometimes it does lead to trouble though.  What do you do when it goes off?  Having it go off is good for you personally and allows you to do research into Scripture to test what is being presented.  But does the knowledge then remain there?  What do you do when you believe the person talking, teaching or preaching is "full of crap"?  When the forwarded email sent to masses has the crap detector beeping so loudly it hurts your ears?  Ahhh, there's the dilemma.  Do you keep it to yourself?  Do you dare to assert your own "opinion" about whether it is crap or do you debate that wisdom based on the fact that you might be full of crap yourself?

For example, a while back, our church in Ghana had a guest pastor who showed a YouTube video called "Muslim Demographics".  Hannah, Noah and I kept looking at each other throughout the video as our crap detector was going off pretty loudly - we thought it might be disturbing others but it didn't seem to be.  We debated it on the way home, and then found a rebuttal on YouTube from the BBC, called "Muslim Demographics:  the Truth", refuting much of the "evidence".  So, what do we do with that?  Can we believe the BBC?  Is it fair for the church, in a position of authority, to show something that presents a "truth" that doesn't appear to be based on facts without being challenged? Do we have a responsibility to those who have no crap detectors, or underdeveloped ones, to point out the smell?

This past week, I received two email messages sent to large groups; both from well-meaning Christians - good people.  But both presenting information that had my crap detector going much so that I lost sleep over it as I debated whether to keep my mouth (or fingers in this case) shut or to speak up. Oh crap - what to do?!

If you know me, and you know the impact that being married to Bob for 19 years would have on anyone, you probably know my decision.  What I actually did is irrelevant though.  The important thing, in my opinion, is the presence in all Christians of a crap detector...and the courage to use it. Ephesians 4:114-15 says,
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (emphasis mine) you have a crap detector?

Is it on?

Did it go off while you read this blog?

If so, let me know!

This flower has been inspiring me for the past two weeks.  It is growing on the road by our house - with no care, no water, just dust and dirt.  It reminds me of the saying, "bloom where you are planted."  The only One who planted this flower was God.