Aug 212013
 

hotcoldFor the first time in over twenty years I have one of the conveniences of modern life.

Air conditioning.

For various reasons I never installed it before ,but the smoke from the wildfires and my shaky health made it necessary.

Now, a little unit in my window keeps the air clean and the temperature a perfect 70 degrees.

It’s always 70 inside even if its 100 outside and it often is.

I find this somewhat disconcerting, to be honest.

I had learned to adapt to the heat….I had fans and lots of ice water and I was sensitive to the changes in temperature throughout the day.

I grew to appreciate a breeze in the day and the falling of the dew at night.

My door was always open to facilitate air flow.

It was easy to empathize with those who worked…or begged… in the heat.

Now,I have no idea how it feels outside from my temperature controlled environment.

It doesn’t matter anymore…it’s 70 in here.

The air is clean and I’m comfortable and life is as it should be… I guess.

I step outside only when I have to.

My door is closed now and when I venture outside I note that it is hot and retreat back inside.

I do not feel either the ravages of the heat or the comfort of the breeze, nor do I note the falling of  dew.

Such things no longer matter…I’m comfortable where I am.

I’m cool.

As with everything I observe, this has become a metaphor to apply to something else.

Bear with me…

In American religion we have pastors and performers both claiming the same title.

Pastors are those who live in the environment as it really is, with all it’s great discomforts and sweat interrupted by an occasional breeze of the Spirit.

Performers isolate themselves in comfort and only come out when necessary…and to ask the pastors how hot it is.

Then, they address them in conferences about the value of air conditioning.

They’re cool.

Make your own application…

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

  16 Responses to “Being Cool”

  1. While I do like the application and think it is a fun article, I think it is short-sighted. It is shortsighted because you have never actually either lived, or maybe even talked through, what your “air-conditioned” isolated performer situation is even like.

    As you know Michael, using your analogy, I went from having no airconditioning to airconditioning. I went, in your example, from being out there to be isolated. I am here to tell you that your characterization is not reality.

    It is easy to call a person who speaks before a large congregation a performer. But for the vast majority of pastors of large congregations, they do just as much Bible work to prepare to teach. So the pejorative perfomer appilation is a slight just based on congregation size, which should not be a yard stick to judge a person’s heart.

    To say that a pastor of a large church, who would also be a conference speaker, is unknown to the hardships of the congregation, or not really a pastor, that is just an imposition of preference based on, well, whatever.

    The difference between a pastor and a performer is solely a heart issue. It has nothing to do with congregation size or the amount of pastoral counseling someone does.

    Just my thoughts.
    Wait what am I doing here? Scurry back to my isolation. Forgive me for talking about the value of air conditioning ;-)

  2. Fusco,

    Where did I mention the size of the congregation?
    I find this more amusing than you could know…one of our mutual friends who has experienced being the pastor of a mega church told me a couple of weeks ago that the measure by which you measure a pastor is by how much time he spends with his people…

  3. Hit a nerve without aiming…

  4. Jim,

    It happens… :-)

  5. On a superficial note, I am so glad you have AC at last. How did you survive?
    I would die. I remember when we finally got AC in 1997…. a-mazing.

  6. I guess if the nerve’s big enough, it’s hard to miss…

  7. As I read this, I thought of my two Phillipino pastor friends. Between them,they have planted around twenty thriving churches, and are aiming for fifty. Most of these churches gather around a central tree with no shelter. When it rains, they worship in the rain. When it is 110 degrees, they sweat, but they continue to grow and baptize new converts every week.

    If my church got rid of A/C, i’d give it three weeks before all our members had relocated. We’re just too cool.

    I know that wasn’t really your point, but that’s my application. :)

  8. Here’s a litmus test. Does the pastor, after the message, hang around in some visible spot for anybody who was there to come up and say a word, receive a prayer, ask a question.

    To me it is that simple.

    Chuck always was – back in the 90s when I was there. He would walk all the way out to the foyer, bad knees and all, greet as many people as possible until literally 5 minutes before the next service started and then he would HAVE to stop, because he also opened the next service and remained in the sanctuary throughout the service.

    That was a great example and opportunity to this young “pastor-to-be”

  9. There’s a lot of truth here, Michael. We live, as you know, in the “other Phoenix,” and I would imagine that a huge chunk of the offerings at our church goes to A/C. I’m spoiled and I know it.

  10. Fusco,
    Speaking from personal experience, I’m pretty sure this post doesn’t apply to you. :)

  11. CK,

    Sometimes I write things without an agenda…just to help me think about the things I think in community.
    This really had no target…I smacked myself with it first.

  12. Fusco!!!
    Well stated!

  13. Oh wait…it looks like the tide is rolling away from what you said….must stay on the popular side of the boat…

    Ohyeah…well What do you know anyway? ;-)

  14. An old preacher used to tell me how he knew that God had hit His target.

    He used the illustration of walking at night past a dark alley and hearing a pack of growling dogs from the darkness. If you throw a rock in their direction, you’ll know you hit one when you hear a yelp.

  15. That is a ridiculous saying designed to keep people who disagree with what was stated silent.
    If you are the first to speak up and disagree then everyone will think the thing applies to you whether it does or not.
    Silly

  16. Ixtlan, that is the perfect analogy. It’s pretty sad when speaking at conferences becomes part of what a pastor thinks is important. When I left the “hawaiian shirt” wearing tribe, I realized how unimportant conferences are.

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