Thursday, November 13, 2008

Helpful or Hurtful?

I'm a little worried about this posting, but somehow, I feel as if I need to do it. It opens me up to criticism, I'm sure, though some might, hopefully, appreciate my position. I NEVER (until now) critique a minister's message, by "accosting" him after the service (until now).

A little background: Ten years ago, I finished 45 years of Ministry in operating, then directing, Christian Radio Ministries - broadcast, that is. My family and former associates will testify, I think, that I'm just fanatical about some things. One subject I am VERY fanatical about (along with "striving for excellence"), is my "lifelong" HOBBY of studying and listening to, grammar, and the use of words in speaking. Pronunciation. Diction. Using proper words to describe something. Not being repetitive.

One time YEARS ago, I found a little printed card that read: "Be sure mind is engaged before putting mouth in gear." Guess where I put THAT card! You're right. On a shelf in front of the on-air announcer's face.

When Jean was in the Nursing Home for a little over 5 months this past summer and fall, we couldn't always get out to church on Sundays. I sometimes could, by going to an 8AM service, then arriving at the Home around 9:30. But she could only go occasionally.

Thankfully, 3 or 4 different church groups hold services in the large dining room there - either on Saturday morning, or Sunday afternoon.

The one we attended the most often was on Saturday mornings. It was provided by a local church, with volunteers - both adult and youth - who regularly helped the "wheel chair" patients there, and encouraged others. The leader, whom I initially thought was the pastor, was actually a lay person, with a supervisory job in a factory during the week, I found out. This 50 to 60 year old man was gregarious, helpful, joyful and every other week, gave the message. On alternate weeks it was given by a young man whom I presume was a student at the church's college.

The first time I heard him (the adult) speak, he used the word "OK?" several times during the message. "So David picked up the rock. OK? Then he put it in his sling OK? He walked down to meet Goliath OK?" etc. Now I'm SURE that I was the only one sitting there who noticed that - including the volunteers. But, remember my background. The message was all right, I presume, but I was distracted by that "OK?" thing. I didn't know what he was trying to teach.

The next week, the student spoke, then following that, it was again my adult friend's turn. This time, knowing his "over use" of "OK" the last time, instead of listening to the meaning of the message, I counted the times he used "OK".

After the service, (while praying), I waited for him to come out of the room. When he did, I approached him, giving him my name and said that I had spent 45 years in the Christian Radio ministry, then said, "I noticed that in your message today, you used the word 'OK' 86 times". He said, "You counted?" I said that I did so because the last time I heard him, he used it several times, and it took away from the meaning of the message. He said, "Thank you for that! I tell my wife that she uses a certain phrase all the time, never realizing that I used 'OK' so much myself." We parted friends.

The following weeks when he spoke, we attended and listened. The first time, he may have said OK 2 or 3 times, but NEVER after that, for several weeks. As far as I know, he still doesn't say it.

I told him that I really appreciated his ministry and message, and that he was surely an open and teachable person, and I admired that.

We've been friends ever since.

Was that helpful? or hurtful? Did I do the right thing? Was I so "full of myself" that I had to set him straght? I'm not sure yet, though he seemed to appreciate it. His "appreciation", though, is certainly not any justification for what I might have done.

Galatians 6:1 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual (ouch), restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."

I don't know whether I feel better or worse for sharing this on my blog. I only know I felt a "compulsion" to do so. Compulsion from whom? I'm not sure. I hope it was God.

"Brethren, pray for us!"

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