Thursday, October 01, 2009
Tinney Talk, October, 2009
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Tinney Talk, October, 2009
Observations by Joe Dan Boyd
IS CHRISTIANITY “CATCHING,” or CONTAGIOUS? Perhaps so, if we define Christianity as a behavior system defined by positive actions, headed by Love, the unconditional kind known as agape that Jesus spent so much time talking about and modeling in His own life. Among other things, Jesus referred to Love, directed toward God and our neighbors, as the Greatest Commandment: Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and Love your neighbor as yourself.
IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU WILL KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, Jesus said on another occasion. And, after Peter had denied Jesus, the Lord rehabilitated His fallen Disciple with a combination of forgiveness and restored confidence simply by asking Peter a single question three times: Do you love me? Peter seemed puzzled by Jesus’ repetition of that all-important question, but kept giving the right answer, and continued his Apostolic ministry of preaching and modeling agape Love for the rest of his life.
HERE AT TINNEY CHAPEL, we have witnessed, first hand, the transforming power of agape Love. Georgia Goggans, introduced to Tinney Chapel by monthly Native American Fellowship meetings and occasional special church events, eventually became a member, and said that our Church Loved her into its ranks. On several occasions, first-time visitors to Tinney Chapel have been moved to comment on the power of Love experienced upon entering the door to our sanctuary. Some have said they could feel the Holy Spirit at work inside these walls.
SOCIOLOGISTS & PHILOSOPHERS have long suspected that behaviors can be “contagious,” according to an article last month in the New York Times. It was an article informed by long-term studies of social network shapes, and flavored with technical terms like “sociograms,” all of which was associated with possible evidence that human beings may actually “infect” each other with both good and bad behavior. How many of us, who may not read the New York Times much at all, have heard ourselves telling a fellow Christian that he, or she, by their behavior, may be the only Bible that someone else will ever read?
THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE is a Christ-centered phrase popularized in one of Christianity’s most-loved hymns, and all of us have been told at one time or another by our parents, and some of our pastors, never to forget WHOSE we are! It’s another way of reminding us that our actions count for something, reflecting on those who raise us, train us. Love us--and those who are influenced by us.
HEALTHY CHURCHES NEVER STOP EMPHASIZING LOVE as their defining characteristic, perhaps because it is such an essential part of Christian DNA. When Tinney Chapel experienced the Hearne-Renshaw Vision & Values Workshop in 2000, our Love quotient was enhanced noticeably for several years, producing Marvin T. Judy awards for excellence in rural ministry during both 2002 and 2004. Let’s plan on at least one repeat during our upcoming DNA Coaching experience!