After watching the news last night, I couldn’t help but wonder at how far we as a nation and people have progressed, or more accurately regressed, to where we now find ourselves. The lack of civility and respect and the acceptance of the “new norm” got me to thinking about Donald Trump. People are upset and offended by what has been characterized as “locker room banter.” Most consider what was said on the tape to be demeaning to women and in bad taste, period! Well I agree with that but find it odd that the language which was so crude and vulgar offended so many. I thought about this for a while, or as some of us older folks might say “pondered” on it a bit. First off what was said cannot be defended because of the context it was used in. More on that in a moment. After pondering and reflecting I believe I have made an important discovery. We could blame this behavior on any number of things but the blame game is part of the reason we are in this mess today. Instead I have found the culprit that encourages such behavior. Practice, that’s right practice. Dictionary says this about practice:
1 the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use the customary, habitual, or expected procedure of something
2 carry out or perform (a particular activity, method, or custom) habitually or regularly
- scheme or plot for an evil purpose: what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive.
Now back to the language thing. The context of the words used were demeaning and disrespectful, on that we all can agree, period! However, and it is a big however, most of your kids hear or see that every day! Oh not mine you say! Unless you monitor everything they see or listen to they do. This is the language of Hip Hop and Rap; it is the “new norm” the practice of the day. Many of our young women and girls consider some of the “reality” stars to be role models whom see it as common practice to go around in a state of near undress. Fashion today is about less being more. Now I could continue on with a list of things that fall under the “new norm” but it will accomplish nothing. I don’t wish to be judgmental, my judgement doesn’t count. I will say that there will be a judgement and I have it on good authority that the Judge is very partial to those practices which are pleasing to Him. Here is the question of the day….are you a practicer? Two of the most common phrases associated with the word practice are: practice makes perfect – used to convey that regular exercise of an activity or skill is the way to become proficient in it, especially when encouraging someone to persist in it, do you practice what you preach?
There are so many things happening in the secular world that contribute to the stresses of this world that Christians have no control of. There are some stressful things occurring within the church that I see no lessening of in the near future. The question above is a valid one and very topical in today’s world, both in the church and the secular world. Are you a practicer?
Hebrews 6: 1-3
Let’s press on to maturity
6 So let’s press on to maturity, by moving on from the basics about Christ’s word. Let’s not lay a foundation of turning away from dead works, of faith in God, 2 of teaching about ritual ways to wash with water, laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment—all over again. 3 We’re going to press on, if God allows it.
Taken from William Barclay’s Daily Bible Study:
THE writer to the Hebrews was certain of the necessity of progress in the Christian life. Teachers would never get anywhere if they had to lay the foundations all over again every time they began to teach. The writer to the Hebrews says that his people must be going on to what he calls teleiote ̄s. The Authorized Version translates this word as perfection.
(1) He means something to do with the mind. He means that as people get older they should more and more have thought things out for themselves. They should, for instance, be able to say better who they believe Jesus to be. They should have a deeper grasp not only of the facts but also of the significances of the Christian faith.
(2) He means something to do with life. As people grow older, their lives should more and more reflect Christ. All the time, they should be ridding themselves of old faults and achieving new virtues. Daily, a new serenity and a new nobility should be breaking upon life.
Methodists recognize this best from John Wesley’s question, “are you going on to perfection”. It all comes down to practicing what we have been taught. With that in mind we might ask, who is our teacher? To whom do we look to for encouragement in those things we do and practice in our everyday life. What shapes our moral code and behavior towards other people? If the church and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ have provided us with the proper foundation are we being practicers, sharing what we have learned and seeking new souls for the kingdom, constantly living in a way that brings hope to those who need it most and in so doing, glory to the kingdom? Are we reaching out seeking to grow in his service and by doing so growing in faith and knowledge? Do we practice what we preach?
Will practice make us perfect? No, we will never be perfect but we should as John Wesley asked, be going on to perfection. Are you just with the crowd, or are you a PRACTICER, moving on to perfection.
May I Practice what I preach, come back to the pew, your always welcome!
References: William Barclay’s Daily Bible Study / Common English Bible