Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Defining Moment

Tonight I heard a quote which was made a while back by the former pastor. As has been mentioned before, he and his family have decided over the past year that they would create their own rules of etiquette and "manners." Haughtiness and rudeness have somehow become appropriate behavior on their part whenever a former church member has tried to speak to them in public. In an attempt to defend their lack of courtesy, the former pastor said,

"The Bible says to be kind. It doesn't say anything about being nice."

I know, I know, let it sink in for a minute... is it starting to make sense yet? Of course it isn't! It is complete nonsense. Along with the former pastor's expertise in etiquette came an apparent proficiency in semantics as well. The really sad part is that in the weeks after he said it, people quoted him as though it were some profound proverb.

The scripture he was referring to was Ephesians 4:32, which in the NAS reads:
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
The Strong's concordance translates the word kind (chrēstos) in that particular scripture as meaning: "fit, fit for use, useful, virtuous, good, manageable, mild, pleasant (as opposed to harsh, hard sharp, bitter), kind, benevolent."
Hmm... did you happen to notice the act of shunning listed in that definition? defines the word nice as:
1. pleasing; agreeable; delightful
2. amiably pleasant; kind
Wait a minute, what the last word in that definition? Could it possibly be that the words nice and kind mean the same thing?

Also Roget's Thesaurus lists several synonyms (a word having the same or nearly the same meaning) for the word nice, and the word kind is one of them.

Since we are talking about words and definitions, I will mention a few which I found to be fascinating:

1. One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return.
2. One who lives off and flatters the rich; a sycophant.

bad-tempered: bad-tempered, unfriendly, rude, and somewhat threatening

1. wanting to cause harm: having or showing a desire to harm others
2. harmful or evil: having a harmful or evil effect or influence

causing insidious harm or ruin; ruinous; injurious; hurtful: pernicious teachings; a pernicious lie

Can you use any of these in a sentence? I certainly could.

- V

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Importance of Connectivity

This weekend, the dad of one of my oldest and dearest friends passed away. Since the moment she called to tell me, I have been very tearful and reflective. He was a wonderful man and was one of many role models I had as a young person. Although he had been stricken with an illness that affected him for many years, he remained an amazing inspiration who loved God and his family with all of his heart.

At the funeral home last night, as well as at the funeral today, I was able to see many people from the church where I grew up. I was a part of that church until I was 27 years old. Because of this, I was flooded with many fond memories from my childhood through my young adulthood. I am so very grateful for the stability and foundation in my life that my parents, other family members, and my church provided for me. Even though we left my childhood church to attend another one, whenever I see anyone from there, they are always genuinely kind, and they make me feel very special. I can honestly say that I never remember anyone from that church shunning us or being rude to us in any way.

One of my aunts also attended the funeral today, and we were talking about it afterward. She made the statement about how wonderful the connectivity was among everyone there. The word connect means: "to join, or fasten together, as by something intervening; to associate; to combine; to unite or link together; to establish a bond or relation between." She went on to say that the bonds that are established in true love are always there no matter what. These bonds can never be broken. I truly experienced that today along with a flurry of emotions. While I was grateful to God for what he had established in my life since the day I was born, I was saddened by how deceived my husband and I were to leave such an atmosphere in order to end up at a Word of Faith church for 24 years. I grieved over the fact that my children were robbed of what I had experienced. I was struck by how hard I had worked to please a pastor and be what was expected of me instead of truly just being myself. I was saddened by what I had become over those years at the former church.

We can see what absolute and utter nonsense is being preached at our former church, and the childish and classless attitudes of the former pastor and his family. We have maintained a connectivity with family and friends and are enjoying life in a way that we have never experienced before. I encourage you to pull in close with family and friends and stay connected. There is no bond stronger than one that is established on true love.