08
Apr
08

No complaining

It is not my normal routine, but early today [Monday, 6:30am] while getting dressed for work, I watched a nationally broadcast morning TV news program. In some ways, I wish I didn’t – watch the news program that is…getting dressed for the office is always a good idea.

The show did a segment interviewing the pastor of a mid-west church who is encouraging his people to wear purple bracelets that say, “No complaining.” According to the pastor, Christians are serious complainers about everything and he is tried of it. “The one thing we can agree on,” he said, “is there’s too much complaining.” So, he has asked his flock to swear [as in commitment, not the four letter kind] off complaining, criticizing and gossip for 21 days. Apparently after that, anything goes.

Actually, his goal is to try and help people break the habit of constant griping. The bracelets are to serve as a reminder of their pledge. If a person catches himself/herself complaining, they are supposed to take off the bracelet, switch it to the opposite wrist and start counting the days from scratch. Of course, the success of all this depends on a person’s self-awareness. Recognizing one’s own negative attitudes is not as easy as it sounds. Some people are oblivious to what is true and or how others perceive them. As far as I know, individuals aren’t allowed to touch other people’s bracelets. Could you imagine that?

Here’s my feeling. Addressing negative, critical attitudes among God’s people is a good thing. We all have a penchant for complaining. Focusing on what we don’t have as opposed to what we do. Pessimism verses optimism. It’s characteristic of sinful human nature. Jesus had to talk to his disciples about “grumbling” among themselves. James, Peter and Paul all wrote the church about such attitudes and behavior.

I think what troubles me is making this a TV and public relations spectacle. Is it necessary to get in front of the camera and declare to the nation/world that “Christians are serious complainers?” Not only that, apparently it has reached such a level that we must now resort to external gimmicks to try and change behavior.

Maybe I’m mistaken and in fact right now being unnecessarily critical, but what has happened to the transforming power of God’s Spirit? Aren’t we changed, not by gimmicks on the outside, but God on the inside?  If God doesn’t have the power of a rubber bracelet – what incentive is there for anyone to believe in him?

Granted, I could be over thinking and reacting to all this. Whatever the case, if I had a bracelet – could I go 21 days with out complaining? Could you?

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.                 -Philippians 2:14 -16

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re: the random-ness

Husband. Father. Senior Pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, IL.

Ok...so you've located the place where I put down my random thoughts. The key word here is random: music, sports, art, food, books, news, spiritual musings, weird stories, etc. I'm especially interested in how everyday experiences of life intersect with the ancient stories of Scripture. Thanks for reading.
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"No problem can withstand the assault of substantial thinking." Voltaire

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