Monday, January 14, 2008

Speaking of Cruise Ships......


I spent a lot of time thinking on this cruise. We got to Roatan Island at 4 pm (3 hours late) and there wasn't anything we wanted to do there anyway. That, coupled with 5:30 Dinner Reservations in the Spirit's Italian Restaurant, and we didn't go ashore at all, there. There also wasn't anything we wanted to tour at Santo Tomas, so we just went to the visitor's center for an hour or two. So, all in all, we spent most of the time aboard.

I wondered why Cruise Ships exist at all. Couldn't anybody get a little boat and go somewhere? Aren't there ways that people can eat at nice restaurants, sit in the sun and watch the ocean, visit several other countries in a week? Well, sure there are. But, if you want to visit 4 coastal cities in a week, have time in each one for shopping, tours, etc., eat in fine restaurants, and still have time to relax, the Cruise Ship is the best way I know to do that.

The first time we visited St. Maarten (the Dutch side of St. Martin/St. Maarten), the yacht "Octopus" was in port. That's Paul Allen's yacht ... he was co-founder of Microsoft ... and it was, at that time, the world's largest yacht. Paul Allen doesn't need 2,000 other people to do the same trip we'd do on a Cruise Ship. But we do.

The crew of the ship is there to serve the passengers. They have to treat the passengers the way the passengers would like to be treated .. within limits of course ... but what the crew doesn't get to do is simply make the passengers live with the crew's preferences.

The captain doesn't get to sail the ship where he wants to go, he has to sail to where the passengers want to go. Where they signed up to go. The captain doesn't get to tell the passengers what they want. What they should want.

The command for the evangelization and discipling of the world is to the church, not to the SBC, the IMB, or the NAMB. Those entities, along with the EC, Lifeway, the seminaries, etc. all exist solely to help the local churches fulfill the great commission.

When a local church says this member ought to be a missionary, and the IMB says they haven't been baptized quite right, or that they don't pray the way IMB "Lower-Ups" approve of, and thus aren't eligible, that's tantamount to the Cruise Ship's crew telling me I can't sail because I used to work for a competitor, or that I can't sail because they have a casino and I don't approve of gambling.

And the Klouda matter ... that's like the Captain throwing a passenger overboard mid-cruise because he just noticed she was born in Germany, and the Captain remembers World War Two. Or maybe the Captain simply figures he never did like a particular port so he decides not to sail there ... because nobody on board should like it, either.

And with reference to the more controversial issues recently in the spotlight, without any real evidence that problems arose that needed correction. Unless you deem anyone not agreeing with those "Lower-Ups" is a problem, a la' either the old Soviet Union, or 1984's Groupthink.

The great tragedy in all this, I think, is that nobody seems to care. The terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center did relatively simple things, in plain view, and nobody realized what was going on. Nobody objected, other than the heroes on United Flight 93. I wonder if the guys like Wade Burleson, Ben Cole, CB Scott, Tom Ascol, Boyd Luter and the other reformers aren't the SBC version of the folks on flight 93. Only in this case, it's the other passengers that are tying to keep the heroes from stopping the nosedive.

Or sinking the ship.

Come on, folks. The whole thing with PPL's and baptisms and Dr. Klouda and others not so famous is just as outrageous as it seems. In my mind, simply correcting the past mistakes of all the "Lower-Ups" we've been reading about ... that's the kindest thing that could be done. Tar and feathers seems more fitting, to me, but that doesn't seem very Christian.

Well, it doesn't make a lot of difference to me. My car turns left out of the subdivision as well as it turns right, and I've served God in plenty of other denominations. So, if and when it all exceeds critical mass, my lifeboat is equipped and ready for the day the SBC et al look like this, instead of the ship I boarded 25 years ago.

7 Comments:

At 8:53 AM, January 15, 2008, Blogger LindaSueBuhl said...

Well put, cruise passenger. I am currently in a nondenominational local church - but of course anytime we gather as more than two or three in the faith - humans (sin nature types) have to make rules. Seems that rules are like that game Jenga - easy at first but once the stack gets too high - watch out below!
Thanks for the cruise pictures - and the emperor is indeed often nekkid - somebody needs to say it out loud.
BTW not trying to butt into a denomination's internal disagreements - but that Body of Christ thing is important to me.

 
At 9:31 AM, January 16, 2008, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Likewise well put, Linda Sue.

It's one of my dad's old axioms that EVERY rule has unintended consequences, which calls for another rule to deal with THOSE consequences, which itself has unintended consequences, calling for another rule ... etc ... etc. I think the SBC and its entities and their rules are looking more like the IRS code every day, and THAT has 66,000 pages!

The ironic part of this is my nephew is away from home (Indianapolis), in USAF training. He's a long-time AoG member, but attending an SBC church. And he is absolutely astounded by the Spirit and the worship and the grace and the love in that church, and that church is one which would meet with disfavor on several fronts if held up to the "SBC matrix" inherent in SBC actions of late.

Sad sad sad.

 
At 10:08 AM, January 16, 2008, Blogger LindaSueBuhl said...

It seems to me -any particular church ( local group of people meeting together -not church in any more universal meaning)can be any one of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation. We'd like to all believe we are part of the church in Philadelphia but in reality most of us are blessed if we are in a church like Ephesus.
I hadn't been aware until recently of the the congregation described in Acts 17 - I like those Bereans! They examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Soon as we step away from examining the scriptures and try adding to them (oops - are we doing that with our rules? - looks like it!) we get in trouble. Glad your nephew is being fed spiritually,the brandname is inconsequential as long as he is receiving nourishment from a bible believing congregation. OK I won't add anything to this - I'm not used to preachin to the choir and in fact -preaching at all. I'm a sinner totally amazed by grace , one dear friend says with God " everything this side of hell is gravy" - and I do like my gravy! Nuff

 
At 10:17 AM, January 16, 2008, Blogger CharlieMac said...

Bob,
You should have drawn the rest of the tea cup the ship is sinking in.
You have a good start in the rim.

I suspect that a large part of the problem is that too many SB'ers can not see the rest of "the church" the over the rim of the tea cup.

But then that is what you said, isn't it?

Mac McFatter

PS Shut the gate up there in Pelham, the cold is seeping all the way down here.

 
At 10:39 AM, January 16, 2008, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Mac,

Thanks for the comment.

Sorry I cannot help with the cold; after a week in the Caribbean, I don't dare even go outside to do anything about it.

 
At 12:58 PM, January 16, 2008, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Linda,

I've often said that I brought nothing but pond scum to my first meeting with Jesus, and anything else you see now, must belong to Him.

 
At 2:29 PM, January 16, 2008, Anonymous tiger lamb girl said...

Hi Bob - Delurking to share that I was inspired to create a new blog - 'Dear God'. If you know anyone who would like to share their prayers - please pass on the blog address.
http://dearheavenlyfather.blogspot.com/

I'll be posting some of my own prayers -- but the blog isn't about me. It's for everyone to share their prayers (signed or anonymously - it's entirely up to them).

I think will be quite inspiring and uplifting.

I hope you and Peg have enjoyed your cruise! Bless you both.

 

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