Don’t Let the Word of the Year Define Your Faith

Dictionary.com has released its selection of the word of the year for 2011 – tergiversate.  You are probably like me and have never used the word in any conversation.  Just be sure that this verb does not define your faith if you are a Christian.  Here is the definition:

1.  to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.

An Answer to Ndamukong Suh’s Question

If you are a football fan, then you have seen the video of Ndamukong Suh (Detroit Lions defensive lineman) pounding the head of an opponent into the turf and then stomping on that player.  You probably have also heard the post-game response of Suh.

In his response Suh resorted to a line of defense that is used far too often by people.  We might call it the “Why Would I Defense.”

So why would I do something to jeopardize myself and jeopardize my team, first and foremost?

–Ndamukong Suh

Christians and Halloween: A 50 Year Cycle

I know what you are thinking.  Halloween is past and we are on to thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But let’s back up a moment.  For the past few weeks, I have been mulling over what Christians have been writing and saying about Halloween.  I realized that in my 50 plus years on this earth, Christians have turned a full circle on what to do when October 31st rolls around on the calendar.  This article is not going to argue for or against Halloween.  It is merely to observe the shifting opinions that have dominated different times in my life.

1.  A Cultural Community Event

In my early years Halloween was a community event.  One did not have to go to the church building to participate.  Christian kids and teenagers celebrated like the rest of their neighbors.

2.  Scaring the Devil

Gantz Jaunt #2

Here we go on another jaunt or a short excursion for pleasure.

*  Church Mag again referenced a P2P Horn Honking article with the line: “Frank Gantz – rocked a great blog post.”

*  I am excited as I look forward to spending a few days with my oldest child, Cameron, in northern Florida in a few days.  We will spend a few days on the beach in Jacksonville and then drive west on I-10 to Tallahassee on Saturday.  Why?  Cameron is treating his dad to 30 yard line tickets to watch our beloved Oklahoma Sooners play the Florida State Seminoles.  Looks like it will be two top 5 teams playing at Doak.  Watch for us on TV.

Gantz Jaunt #1

As a high school quarterback, I ran an option play near the end of a game.  32 yards later I crossed the goal line for the winning score.  The local newspaper ran this headline the next day, Gantz TD Jaunt Lifts Chiefs.  My teammates made fun of me for days.  I heard all kinds of jaunting jokes.

One dictionary provides this definition of the word: a short excursion or journey for pleasure.  So in the spirit of a bygone day of glory, I am beginning a new blog feature called Gantz Jaunt.  This feature will be short excursions or journeys for pleasure.  I will enjoy them.  I hope you will, too.  Perhaps somebody can create a nice image or logo for me to use with these posts.  If you are the creative sort, send me your best stab at it.

* Church Mag referenced the P2P article, Attending a Church for the First Time on their website.  Thanks guys.

Horn Honking

If you are sitting in the left turn lane at a red light in South Florida, you can take a nap.  You will not miss the light changing to a green arrow.  That is because an unwritten law exists down here.  The milli-second the light turns green, the fifth car in line must begin honking its horn.

This annoying practice is so prevalent that some drivers deliberately delay turning when at the front of the line.  I know this is true because I have done it.  I’m not proud of this, but it is the truth.  I figure that somebody needs to learn patience, and I am the person in position to do the teaching.

A parallel exists between when and how we honk the horns in our automobiles to when and how we warn others who may be spiritually asleep at the wheel.  As you read the following, think about the use of your spiritual horn.

Light Up My Eyes

The other night I was sitting on our back porch watching an amazing storm.  The winds were blowing.  The rain was falling.  Thunder was echoing across the peninsula.  Lightning was illuminating the darkened sky.  My cat, Figaro, was sitting in my lap frightened at the powerful display of the storm.  The pupils of his eyes had expanded fully as he was taking the sights.

Just as the eyes of a cat change, so do ours.  When we are nervous, our eyes flutter back and forth.  It is as if we are trying to catch sight of something that makes sense.  When we are determined, we might be said to have a steely gaze.  We look intently and with focus at the object of our attention.

What happens when we are sad or weary?  We might refer to our eyes being heavy.  The rest of our body takes the cue from our eyes.  Our steps become laborious.  Our thoughts cannot seem to move into another gear.  A darkness sets in and may even effect the hue of our eyes.

Attending a Church for the First Time

On Sunday I attended a church in our community for the first time.  My wife and I are new residents in the area and want to be part of a church in this community.  My wife was working (the joys of retail), so I pulled into the parking lot by myself about 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the Sunday worship service.

My overall experience was positive and encouraging.  As a former pastor, I try to be a regular Joe when I am visiting a new church.  I want to experience the day as one who is totally new to the whole church going thing.  At the same time I cannot help but pay attention to certain aspects that might escape the notice of others.

Hopefully this article will be of help to others who might be considering attending a church for the first time.  Church leaders might also glean a thing or two about their own churches.  Rick Ezell has penned a helpful article for church leaders, 5 Must-Know Facts About First-Time Guests.  His section about friendliness is right on target.

Cultural Myth: You Can Be Anything You Want to Be

I get a bit concerned when I see our culture proclaim things which are not true.  I get even more concerned when those proclamations are repeated enough that they pass for certainties.  As a Christian I am alarmed that some of these untruths get perpetuated within the church.

These proclamations need to be identified as myth rather than truth.  One such myth is that you can be anything you want to be.  We tell this myth to our children.  We declare it at graduation speeches.  We sing about it.  Yet because something is echoed does not make it true.

Consider the lyrics of a song made popular by R. Kelly:

Appearances May Be Altered

A few years ago The Masters golf tournament made the news because of birds.  The event was being carried live by one of the major television networks.  During the telecast the serene setting of Augusta, Georgia was communicated visually and audibly.

However, the live event was not really what appeared to the home viewer.  An astute observer contacted the network to complain that the bird sounds being broadcast were actually the sounds of birds which are not located in Georgia.

The network confessed to piping in bird sounds to add to the ambiance of the lush golf course.