Hallelujahs and Amens were ordinary parts of the Sunday morning service in the tiny country church. So was the swish of a flushing toilet.
If you visited the 1st century Jewish temple, and were more of a free spirit who blew off boundaries, there's a good chance you'd wind up in the Jerusalem morgue.
Over the last year I’ve worked my way through several books. I’ve listened to the authors, taken down notes, applauded, wept a few times, and had a rather one-sided debate with a few of them as I read along. I love books. I love authors. I love the way putting words down on paper incarnates ideas that might otherwise remain ghosts of the mind, flitting here and there in our gray matter.
I’ve had a handful of unusual teachers in my life. A shrimp of a man who’d been excommunicated from the Amish community for owning a stereo—he taught me how to shingle a roof. A wheelchair-bound country music singer and songwriter who penned one of George Strait’s hits—he taught me the fine art of woodwork. An ex-con with a string of DWI’s—he taught me the ins and outs of the work I did in the oilfield.
We’re not supposed to tinker around with Bible verses, but there’s one I wish I could edit. Instead of Solomon saying, “There’s a time to be silent and a time to speak,” my altered version would read, "There are more times to be silent than there are to speak,” (Ecclesiastes 3:7).
Let’s sit side-by-side in the pew and observe a pastor for a few minutes. Listen not only to his words but eyeball him. See how he communicates non-verbally, by his actions. He’s standing in the pulpit. He’s folding his hands in prayer. Notice his face, too. He’s smiling as he greets us. He’s earnest as he proclaims the Scriptures. His face compliments his words.