Oct 20 2014

Preceding Grace: He Was Provokin’ Me

Recently we’ve seen a rise in the number of children being diagnosed with autism.  While this might be loosely tied to older men fathering children or environmental toxins, the actual truth seems to be that we really don’t know why this is the case.

Many children diagnosed have high I.Q.’s and function well in mainstream classrooms academically.  The problems for these children are more social.  They often do not respond as well to regular interactive cues.  Many don’t smile very often.  They are often bullied by other children because they don’t pick up on the subtle nuances that occur in everyday communication.

Children who don’t get a response to their overtures from an autistic child may feel somewhat slighted.  If they have poor self-esteem themselves, they may pick on the autistic child because they don’t understand why they are being ignored.

Most people appreciate some type of reaction or response from others.  One of the worst things in life is to be ignored (anyone remember Ally Sheedy’s character from The Breakfast Club?).

One of my faults is the ability to find the sore spots on people that trigger a reaction. Finding and exposing a person’s vulnerability was a gift (curse?) that I try not to use anymore.  Some people call this “pushing the right buttons”.  It is likely a defense mechanism along the lines of the best defense is a good offense.

Regardless, responses are important as part of the social covenant.

I believe that even though we are influenced, we are still free to decide our response in any situation.

When I tried to give Sheryl her ring during our wedding,
she dropped it.  It was probably self-preservation trying
to kick in on her part!

When two people enter the marriage covenant, they respond to the query of whether they will be
faithful to one another with the affirmative (usually “I will” or “I do”).  If their response is negative (this hasn’t ever happened to me in all my years of officiating), this would be a good sign that their commitment level is not at the appropriate level for a life-long marriage!

When it comes to God, many people respond to the forgiveness and grace we’ve received by making a commitment of faith.  Within United Methodism, we pledge to support Christ through the church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness.  It is no small thing.

This Sunday, I’ll be preaching on the parable of the two brothers – one is faithful and one is not – contained in Matthew 21:28-32.  Their response shows that human beings really haven’t changed much in 2000 years.

If your own response to God has been lacking lately, I hope you’ll remedy this on Sunday.  I promise I won’t try to intentionally push your buttons but I may accidentally trod on your toes!

In Christ,


Photo by Petar Milošević via Wikimedia Commons

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/10/he-was-provokin-me/

Oct 20 2014

Lake Neuron » Lake Neuron: the disappearing child

I have been in kind of a funk the past few days, but I knew my weekly volunteer hour at Learning Way Elementary would get my mind off things. This week, Regan had me with the same group of kids – three of them – for the whole hour. We played two different games and […]

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/10/the-disappearing-child/

Oct 20 2014

Greater Things Are Yet To Be Done: My Congo Pilgrimage

By Rev. Randy Cooper, Martin First UMC, Martin, Tenn. TOP PHOTO: Rev. Randy Cooper (right) and his United Methodist clergy friend, John Paul, at the East Congo Episcopal Area Conference Round Table. BOTTOM PHOTO: Cooper (left) and Kinshasa, daughter of Bishop Unda Yemba Gabriel. Two Martin First UMC youth heard Bishop Bill McAlilly of the Nashville […]

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/10/my-congo-pilgrimage/

Oct 20 2014

A Potter's View: Wedding Receptions and Dress Codes

“Hate the sin, and love the sinner,” is an oft told phrase. It reminds me of Matthew 22:1-14 where Jesus says that everyone is welcome to come to the Wedding Banquet but they need to dress appropriately. This is a often misunderstood passage. Of course, this is all metaphorical and not about an actual dress […]

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/10/wedding-receptions-and-dress-codes/

Oct 20 2014

everyday theology: Good news and bad news

Original post at http://noncon.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/good-news-and-bad-news/

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/10/good-news-and-bad-news-2/

Oct 20 2014

chappelltemple: A Cake for Alfie

It was definitely not what she expected to discover that night. For when Angie finally managed to get her 21-month old down for the night—a clear victory in their house—she finished tidying up the kitchen and was thinking she might … Continue reading

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