Ponderings by Doug

Several years ago, a radio station in San Francisco conducted a non-scientific listener survey. Sixty-eight percent of the people surveyed were for it. Twenty percent of the people surveyed were against it. The remaining twelve percent had no opinion on the matter. The radio station concluded from the non-scientific survey that the vast majority were in favor of it. The funny part is that the radio station never asked a question. It was an illustration of the bandwagon effect. If you get enough people walking down Trenton Street in the same direction at nearly the same time, a parade is likely to break out.

I could go on one of my rants about people not thinking critically about political, educational, existential, or spiritual matters but I won’t! I will say that you need to read more than just the headlines on the website, you need to read the article. You also need to read more than one verse of the Bible to get a more complete picture. We often form opinions based on emotion rather than thinking something through.

I talk about this because when people find out I am a minister they usually ask a question that goes like this:  “Do Methodist believe in drinking wine and playing cards at the dance held on Sunday afternoon at the movie theater?” This is not a serious question, but the ones people ask me are just as funny. When someone asks me about a specific “sin” I usually ask them what they think. You might be surprised to know that people are looking for direction and validation in their lives. I am amused that they mostly want to know if I am AGAINST the same things they are against. Often in seeking direction and validation for our spiritual position we will join a church where people “think like we do.”

We are defined by who attends our church. We are defined by what we are AGAINST. In church life, the bandwagon is joined as much for what a church is against as for what the church believes. Do you want anyone to define you by what you are against?

I want to say that I am for YOU. I believe that God loves you just the way you are. You don’t have to do one thing to earn God’s love for you. I believe that God wants the best for YOU. Now what is best for you and what is best for your friend are two different “bests” each one being unique to the individual. I believe that God loves YOU and believes in YOU so much that he sent Jesus into the world, to show you that love.

What do you believe?