This coming week we take a break from our Ezekiel series, because it is time for our once/quarter focus on Current Events. On the Monday before each Current Events week, I scour the headlines looking for ideas. There are so many possibilities. Over the last 18 months, quite frankly, our national headlines haven’t changed a whole lot. That caused me to think about local headlines. Because my blog posts start as sermons at my church, I really hoped to find a hot topic that was making a splash right here in Lancaster County.
Initially I thought of Eagle Disposal and their struggle with labor shortage. I am an Eagle customer, and in the last few months, they have missed a regular weekly garbage and recycling collection three different weeks. Up and down my street, my neighbors and I would set out our collection bins, and they would remain on the edge of our yards for days, till one by one we realized that Eagle wasn’t picking up that week, and we’d pull them back where they would fill to overflowing, stinking in the summer heat and humidity.
It was frustrating. Why would Eagle not communicate with us, letting us know they weren’t picking up that week? I called them to find out, and they said they were struggling with hiring, and they simply didn’t have the personnel to fulfill all their collection routes. But they assured me they would discount our bill for each week they missed. This past week Eagle sent a letter saying they were discontinuing recycling collection because of the labor shortage. Things are not well at Eagle. Why can’t they hire people? It’s more than just Eagle. It seems like nearly everyone is hiring. What might the Scriptures have to say about labor shortage or garbage collection? A lot, actually, and I would be glad to talk with you about that. But in the end, I decided not to talk about Eagle and the labor shortage.
Instead, I asked three local Christians what they thought I should talk about. They each attend other churches, and they each have a unique vantage point in our community. One is a local police detective. One is principal of an elementary school. The last one is a TV reporter. All live in my community, and all have kids who attend our school district. Additionally, their jobs put them in communication with a wide cross-section of the community. Finally, I asked my barber, what he thought I should preach about. He quipped, “Tell ’em to come to the barber shop!” So I will. If you live in Lancaster, I urge you to see Tony or Shane at Main Street Barber Shop in Leola. They are great guys and give an excellent cut. As we discussed current events, I started to think that my barber might have the most interesting conversations of all the people I asked!
So what did they say I should talk about? Each person responded with a variety of ideas, many of which you would find quite familiar: personal responsibility, sexual identity/ethics, Covid, etc. I thought their responses could lead to an interesting blog series titled, “The Bible and the Barber Shop”!
As I reflected on their suggestions, I had the sense that we need to see the forest for the trees. They gave me excellent ideas, each of which we could say was an individual tree, a singular issue in society. It struck me that we all likely already have opinions about those issues. While it would be helpful to examine what Scripture says about those issues, and sometime perhaps we will, I thought it would be good to zoom out, trying to see the forest for the trees. What I mean is this: what are the societal or cultural forces that influence how we have already formed our opinions about those issues? We first need to examine those forces, those influences, before we evaluate the issues. And that led me to our topic for this coming week’s Current Events blog series. See if you can figure it out…it’s a bit of riddle. Here it is:
Why We Are A Purple Church
I look forward to discussing it with you this coming week! We’ll see what Scripture has to say about why we are a purple church. What is a purple church? We’ll find out. For now, feel free to take a guess in the comments below!