27 June 2015

A Christian Islamic State

Dear Church,

If you don't want to live under Sharia law, don't try to impose your understanding of "Biblical" law on anyone else.

The governmental version of marriage and ours are NOT inextricably intertwined.

Jesus came to establish a kingdom transcending human government. Why are you trying to make them the same thing? Jesus explicitly rejected every attempt to force him into that role. What makes you think he changed his mind?

Give up that yoke. It's killing you and causing more collateral damage than you can imagine.

26 June 2015

Love And Hate- the Gay Marriage Ruling

I took today off to work on my book but it's been hard to concentrate given the hullabaloo around the SCOTUS ruling today on gay marriage. My gay friends are naturally thrilled. The rest of my friends, scattered across various spectrums of beliefs, vary from thrilled to wary to livid to terrified. My liberal friends mostly celebrate and my conservative friends mostly wail. This is to be expected.

What should NOT be expected is that some (and it's far from all, thank God) of my Christian friends- my self-professed family- are acting furious, angry, and downright nasty toward gays, toward the court, toward elected leaders, and toward Christians who disagree with them on both sides of the issue!

I may well hurt or anger people on all sides of the issue with this blog- especially if you don't read all the way through with an open mind. If you're not willing to do that, you should probably just move along until you are. But hurt and anger are the farthest things from my intent.

First off, if we're going to demand that the government stay out of religion we need to be careful not to impose religion via government. If marriage is a sacrament, something the Church should be involved in, then the Church needs to differentiate that from what the government considers marriage. The government deals in legal technicalities, taxes, and control. This applies to marriage as much as anything. Personally, I wish another word were used; I see all marriages as civil unions from a governmental standpoint. Or we can change the term the Church uses. I really don't care. My point is that they are two completely separate things and the Church should not be up in arms over the government changing the legal definition of marriage. My gay friends have every legal right to expect equal protection and equal rights under the law.

Religious groups, on the other hand, have every right to interpret the religious meaning of marriage based on their interpretation of spiritual revelation, whatever form that takes- be it the Torah, the Christian Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Koran, or wisdom handed down orally by generations of elders. No pastor, priest, imam, or other religious leader should be told s/he must violate her/his conscience to perform a marriage.

I speak of the Church and marriage, but even that wording is fraught with peril today as various Christians argue over what the Bible says, or whether it is even relevant in this case. Ten different people may mean ten different things when they say, "the Church"- or when they say "I believe the Bible".

I believe the Bible is God's word. I'm not sure it's 100% inerrant in its wording, especially in its interpretation today. I have no doubt the gist of it is correct. I have met God. I have a deep, intimate relationship with the God of the Bible. I have been kissed by God.[1] I know God pretty well. And I know that God transcends that book.

The Bible itself says that Jesus was (is) the Word of God. How can the letter matter more than the person? Jesus said far more things than are in the Bible (according to the Bible!) And yet he never said a word about homosexuality.

There are only a tiny handful of passages about homosexuality in the Bible. They are not as clear as most of us would like. At the same time, the attempts to explain them away are no more definitive. It looks to me like these passages support the notion that homosexuality is a sin. I don't like that. I have gay friends, friends so close they are family. At least one of my dopta-daughters is gay, and several more have had happy same-sex experiences even though they don't consider themselves gay. I know these people. I love them. Many of them know God, exhibit fruits and even gifts of the Spirit. Every one struggled with their identity and believes God told them they are OK as they are.

I don't know what to do with all of that; I still don't understand. As much as I would like to believe that being gay is perfectly fine, those few verses nag at me. But that's OK. There are lots of things I don't understand in the Bible. I don't sweat that; if studying gets me nowhere I put them aside and trust God to show me what I need to know when I need to know it.

And yet... Jesus died for all sins. ALL sins. Yours, mine, President Bush's, President Obama's, my wonderful straight wife's, my precious, gay daughter Corey, my dear friend and brother Neal. That same Jesus, when asked which of the commandments was the greatest, didn't name any of the Big Ten. He didn't reach into the bowel of the OT and pull out "a man shall not lay with a man". He said to love God with everything in you, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Note the restrictions there. Look carefully; write them down. Enumerate them. If you want to get all Old testament, write them on your pillars and doorways, and put them in boxes on your wrists and foreheads. Go ahead. I counted them so you can be sure you got them all.

Zero. None. Nada. The empty set. A non-intersecting Venn Diagram. A blank spreadsheet.

"Love your neighbor." Not just the person who believes as you do. Not just Christians. Not just your family. Not just straight or gay people. Not just people of a certain skin tone. In another parable Jesus made it clear that most of us wouldn't recognize our neighbor even if she were saving our life. Because everyone is our neighbor.

Every. Last. One.

We can discuss the issues. That's a good thing. Arguing? Not so much. Vituperous proclamations, degradations, damnation, and general nastiness? That's the kind of thing that earned the hypocrites among the religious leaders a scathing retort from Jesus.

I've seen a lot of people saying "LOVE WINS!" on Facebook today. But from some (again, nowhere near all!) of my FB friends who proclaim their Christianity the loudest, I see only condemnation and judgment. Don't expect too many people to listen. In fact, I pray they don't.

I encourage all of you to seek someone out who believes differently. Get to know them. Show some love. If you're a believer (or even if you aren't sure), pray together. You won't get cooties. You won't get a demon. But you might well encounter God- the Jesus who redeemed us, the Father/Mother who lovingly made and sustains us, the Holy Spirit who brings us in unity with God and each other.

It's not my job to "save" anyone or fix anyone. That's up to God. I'm here to love, and I love you. As does God. Straight, gay, however you see yourself. But when you look in the mirror know that you were created in the image of God. Every last one of you.

 

[1] If you care, it was extremely intimate. It was romantic. It was pure love. It was powerful. It was many things. But it was not homosexual or heterosexual.

20 April 2015

Success in Ministry?

I ran across this question in a youth pastor's group: "How do you define success in youth ministry?"

I hate phrases like that.

Did the youth encounter Jesus? Then I would call that success.

Hopefully some came to know God. Hopefully some went deeper in that relationship. Hopefully lives are transformed.

In John 4/37-38 Jesus briefly discusses one harvesting and another reaping. In I Cor 3/5-8 Paul discusses one sowing, one watering, and another reaping. In this light, westernized concepts of "success" melt away.

For years I wasn't sure how much impact I was making as a youth minister. It turns out the real fruits are not always evident until later. I found that I had a lot more than I had known. Yet some of what we all deemed successes then don't look like it now. I continue to trust, pray, and love and hope they will be. Not for my sake, but for theirs.

And there is, I think, another component. Did it transform you? Did you grow in love and grace? Did you grow closer to God, the youth, and their families? Basically, did the great commandments become more real? Do you see more fruit? There's some real success, too!

If we define success as the world does (regardless of how many preachers or local churches go along) we have missed the point, just as anyone who looked down on the widow for giving such a pittance (Lk 21/1-4) had missed the point. Clearly Jesus judged otherwise.

We should be the Church in the West but we are too often the westernized Church.

22 December 2014

Dreams and Visions and Trust, Oh My! (Not Quite the Christmas Story)

This isn't technically a Christmas play but since everyone associates this part of the story with Christmas, here it is. It should probably take place a year and a half after the birth of Jesus. Desert. Sand. Beach. Summer. Suddenly I see!

Copyright 1998, 2011, 2014 Miles O'Neal, Round Rock, TX, USA. All rights reserved.


Narrator

Narrator

never seen, reasonably serious type, but not a stuffed shirt, may be male or female, any age

Joseph

18 to 30 y/o Jewish carpenter

Mary

14 - 16 y/o girl

Peter

healthy donkey, piles of stuff on his back

Thomas Bodett

14 - 20 y/o, inn-keeper's nephew. Eager, helpful, honest.


[curtain closed, stage dark]

Narrator:

It wasn't a dark and stormy night. It was instead a bright, hot, arid, windy morning in the middle of a desert. A young family has been traveling all night, as they have for a number of nights now ...


[curtains open, lights up fast, young Jewish couple plodding along with donkey]

Mary:

(stumbling) Oh, Joseph, it's so hot!

Joseph:

(steadying her) I know, I know. (sighs, looks around shading eyes with hand) Mary, ride the donkey.

Mary:

Oh, Joey, we have too much on Peter as it is - almost everything we own! (Looks at stuff on donkey) Such as it is.

Joseph:

That's what donkeys are for! (stops donkey) Here, let me help you up. And tell me again why you named him, "Peter"?

Mary:

(resignedly gets on donkey.) Because he's so good-natured, but so stubborn.

Joseph:

And so who is this stubborn, good-natured guy he's named after?

Mary:

Just someone I saw in a dream once. (donkey starts, Mary groans). Ooooh... I'm so sore. (gets faraway look) Next time we take a Concorde, first class. (smiles dreamily)

Joseph:

What? Con-Chord? First what?

Mary:

I'm sorry, Joseph dearest, never mind.

Joseph:

I worry about you when you talk like that. I think we need to get you out of this heat!

Mary:

Ha! When I talk like that! (looks to sky) Angels he sees! Dreams he has! Take a lovely tour of the Middle East and see fascinating Egypt, home of the Pharoahs, pyramids, and lovely sphinxes, my precious! See the spot where Moses turned the water into blood! See where Joseph fled Potiphar's wife! Get your picture taken with Egyptian guards like the ones who drowned in the Red Sea! (smiles lovingly at Joseph) And you worry about me?

Joseph:

(wry smile) You have such a way with words, dearest. I don't think I ever put it quite like that.

Mary:

I know, I know. Oh, I'm so sore! Get me down off this mangy beast!

Peter:

Hee haw! (stops suddenly, Joseph catches Mary as she starts to fall)

Joseph:

I don't think Peter likes that! And he isn't mangy. And he's a good donkey. He carried you to Bethlehem, he got us this far, with no problem.

Mary:

True enough. I'm sorry, Peter. (rubs muzzle fondly) It's just that his bones (pats Peter's back) and my bones (rubs rear) don't seem to line up right for comfort. What this donkey needs is some nice, leather Ricarro seats, with lumbar support and adjustable head rests.

Joseph:

Mary?

Mary:

Sorry dear. You have dreams, I have visions.

Joseph:

Visions she has. Angels she sees. (shakes head) And you danced with that one angel!

Mary:

(laughing, almost hysterically) Not quite! I danced before the Lord! If the angel danced, too, that was his business! (makes moon eyes) It's only you I dance with, Joey!

Joseph:

(catches Mary as she stumbles) It's too hot. We've got to find shelter before 10 AM.

[child hurries by with subtitle sign "...before the 4th hour"]

Joseph:

Oh, well, the Lord sent us here, the Lord will provide. (looks up) Right, Lord?

Mary:

(starts looking through bundle on Peter's back) How's our little boy? Son? (anxious) Son? Are you in here? (upset) Joseph! Where is he? Did we leave him at the last oasis? (frantically digs into pile)

Joseph:

(stops her, holds with one arm, moves rags on different part of pile) No, no, it's all right, he's here. Remember? You wanted him to see out the back for a change of scenery?

Mary:

(slumps against Joseph) I forgot. I'm sorry, honey... I'm so hot and tired... I remember now, I was thinking about family vacation in a station wag... Never mind. Anyway, I agree, we need to find some shade. Can we set up our tent against that sand dune?

Joseph:

Let me climb it and see if there's anything nearby.

Mary:

Oh, be careful. And make sure it's not a mirage! I had a cousin who wandered for days chasing a mirage. They found him nearly dead, pouring sand from a camel's skull into his shoes, convinced he was at a tea party!

Joseph:

Don't worry, I'm not the one talking about Ricardo's leather seat, or whatever! (kisses her gently, starts up hill)

Mary:

(talks to bundle on Peter's back) I had such high hopes for you, little man. Growing up with your cousin John, playing in the yard outside a nice split level in Nazareth, helping your Daddy in the shop... He was going to make you a rocking horse, if only I could explain to him what a rocking horse was! (sighs) Poor Joseph! Sometimes he must think me mad, with the things I see in the future. Funny, I've never seen anything in the near future - about you, about us... He's a good man, is Joseph... He could have sent me away... We could be living in Samaria right now, me a servant girl or something, just trying to survive, desperately trying to find you a father... But some day, I see us coming home, coming back, you in the Temple, teaching... Yes! I do, I see you in the Temple teaching. Why do the other teachers look so unhappy?

Joseph:

(running towards them, laughing and hollering) Mary! Mary! Yes, we will go round this sand dune! We'll stay there! It's a great place to (Ha ha!) pitch our tent! (arrives breathless, laughing, stumbles into donkey) Let's (breathes hard, wavers) let's go!

Mary:

Joseph! Are you all right! I think you've had too much sun!

Joseph:

No, I'm fine, just a bit carried away. Come on! Let's go! (pulls at Peter, stumble on) Wagons ho!

Mary:

(confused) What?

Joseph:

You can do it, I can do it. Wagons ho!

[curtains close]


Narrator:

And so, Mary and Joseph and their young son and Peter the donkey and nearly all their worldly possessions have come to the end of another long night's journey through the desert, exhausted, tired, dry, but safe. Sometimes they worry vaguely about lions, or jackals, or bandits...


[Curtains open on a small oasis town in the middle of the desert. An adobe building (or series of tents) labeled "Motel 6" is in foreground. As the family comes round a sand dune, a young man in bright clothes suddenly steps out in front of them.]

Thomas:

Howdy!

M & J :

(looking terrified) Aaaahhhh!

Mary:

(throws herself in front of donkey) Stay back, you fiend!

Joseph:

(throws self in front of Mary) Halt! Who goes there?!?!

Thomas:

(throws self on ground, appears to be having epileptic fit)

Mary:

Joseph?

Joseph:

I don't know! (Looks around warily) Maybe this wasn't such a good idea...

Thomas:

(laughs hysterically throughout lines) Oh man, oh man, oh man! If you could have seen your faces! (starts to get up) I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you! I just wanted to get your attention, to welcome you to our oasis, and offer you our hospitality! (has fits of giggles) Thomas, son of Bodett, at your service.

Mary:

(slumps against Peter, Joseph grabs and holds her) I think I need to sit down. No, lie down! And have a huge glass of...

Joseph:

(interrupts, kisses her, shushes her, looks knowingly at lad) Um, we were just passing through, we hadn't really decided for sure if we want to stop here...

Thomas:

(Looks at them, looks at sky, wipes forehead exaggeratedly) Oh, of course, of course. But if you should be interested in spending the day out of the hot sun, maybe sleeping in a nice, air conditioned room...

Joseph:

A what?

Mary:

(exchanges looks with the lad) Don't worry about it.

Thomas:

...drink some cold water, eat a few fresh figs and dates, I'm sure you would find our prices very reasonable!

Joseph:

Well, just for the sake of argument, if we were to delay our journey, give up the lovely views of traveling by daylight, rest a bit in your, ah, whatever, drink some tepid water, maybe share a meal, how much is reasonable?

Thomas:

That's cold water, I assure you, honored sir! And most excellent dates and figs! Only a few shekels!

Joseph:

(looks at Mary, raises eyebrows) Only a few shekels? For all that? (looks around dubiously) You have a lot of competition or something?

Thomas:

And no bugs in the rooms.

Mary:

(clutches Joseph's arm, whispers) Oh, Joseph, could we? Everywhere we've stopped, it's been roaches, scorpions, palmetto bugs...

Thomas:

(bows) We would be honored to have you stay here. This is the last rest stop and filling station for many spans of cubits. But we are honest men. When the great and rich come, my uncle charges them the prices for great and rich men. When others come, we charge them much less. We are blessed, and would not take from those who have not much.

Joseph:

This isn't a room in the stable, right?

Thomas:

Huh?

Joseph:

(holds out hand) OK, deal!

Thomas:

(looks at hand) Huh?

Joseph:

(bows)

Thomas:

(bows) This way... (leads to room 107, heads back to tent marked "Office")


Narrator:

And so Mary and Joseph and the child and Peter spend the hot part of the long day in an oasis. As evening approaches, they prepare to leave.


[lights fade somewhat (ideally, sun moves across sky as narrator speaks)]

Mary:

(carrying baby) Oh, Joseph! That was wonderful! A bed! And a bath! And fresh fruit! And cool water! I feel so much better!

Joseph:

I told you God would provide.

Thomas:

Your animal, sir.

Joseph:

Thank you. (looks wary) How much for taking care of him?

Thomas:

(consults paper) Let's see - fill up with hay (points to mouth), checked his wipers (points to eyes), new tires (points to feet)...

Joseph:

(whacks self in head, shakes head)

Thomas:

... washed and waxed him (waves hand around outside), 1 quart of Castrol... I mean Castor Oil... That's 5 shekels.

Joseph:

(jaw drops) 5 shekels???

Mary:

(almost drops baby) 5 shekels???

Thomas:

(cringing) 5 shekels. Hey, we didn't even charge for the Castrol, I mean Castor Oil!

Joseph:

No, no, you misunderstand! We thought it would be more than that!

Mary:

Far more! Oops! (covers mouth)

Thomas:

We are here to serve.

Joseph:

So, business has been good?

Thomas:

(shrugs) Not really.

Mary:

What about all the rich and great?

Thomas:

(shrugs) So it's been a little while. The Lord will provide.

Joseph:

(pulls Mary off to one side) What do you think?

Mary:

I think... (looks at Thomas, looks at baby, smiles) I think he's telling the truth. So does our son.

Joseph:

What? (stares at Mary, at baby, back at Mary)

Mary:

Trust me on this, OK?

Joseph:

So what do we do? We don't have 5 shekels! I forgot all about the donkey last night...

Mary:

Well... we were wondering why those so-called Wise Men gave us some of those gifts. I mean, Peter's lugged all that gold, frankincense and myrrh all the way from Bethlehem!

Joseph:

But those gifts were for our son! (looks wonderingly at baby) "For the king", they said. (looks at Mary)

Mary:

And we're his parents! We wondered what it all was for - maybe to help with this journey!

Joseph:

That makes sense.

Mary:

How far do we still have to go?

Joseph:

We're about half way there. Once we get to Egypt, who knows? We can camp at the border, or move on.

Mary:

To Cairo. (dreamily) Maybe a condo on the beach...

Joseph:

What?

Mary:

Never mind! (imperious British accent) Shall we pay with gold, or with spices, miluhd?

Joseph:

Gold, I suppose. And what's that silly accent?

Mary:

Never mind. Joey?...

Joseph:

(looks in eyes) Yes, Mary?

Mary:

Let's bless them. I saw others today - Thomas is the only one who has decent clothes. I think they've hit hard times.

Joseph:

Well, they certainly treated us well. I think you're right. (moves back to Thomas) Here, can we pay you in gold?

Thomas:

(suddenly suspicious) Gold? I thought you were just a family fleeing to Egypt!

Mary:

Gasp!

Joseph:

What made you think that?

Thomas:

Just stuff I read in the paper. (takes gold) Wait a minute! (bites, looks shocked) This is the real thing! I can't make change from this!

Joseph:

Don't worry about it - as you have blessed, so are you blessed. Now, which way to Egypt?

Mary:

Joseph... (pulls aside) Are you sure about this Egypt thing? I mean, really, really, sure, deep down in your soul sure?

Joseph:

(Looks into distance a moment, looks back at Mary)

Mary:

I mean, I'm just so tired of the desert, and Egypt will just be more desert, and we only have enough gold and spices for a few months after we get there, and if this is the Messiah, what is He going to do in Egypt??? Do we really need to go to Egypt? Are you sure about this dream?

Joseph:

As sure as the dream that caused me to marry you, my beloved.

Mary:

Oh! (blushes) Well, then, I guess...

Thomas:

Oh, most noble guests, I almost forgot! You get a paper with your room. Would you like an Israeli Daily, a Samaritan Statesman, or a Narnia Chronicle?

Mary:

Oh, thank you!

Joseph:

We'll take the Israeli Daily, please. (hands to Mary) Something to read on the way, dear - at least until the sun goes down.

Mary:

(idly glances at front, startles, starts reading intently)

Joseph:

Um, just out of curiosity, if we were to head back towards Israel, which way would you recommend? Are there more inns like this on some route we didn't know about?

Mary:

(VERY upset) No! Never mind! Thank you for everything! We'll be going now, on to Egypt. But, oh dear! If anyone were to ask for us...

Thomas:

(determinedly) No one will know of your passing, my friends. But you must be on your way. God go with you.

[they start off]

Joseph:

Mary, what is it! You're shaking! What happened?

Mary:

Oh, Joseph! The paper! The Daily! Those poor children! The poor parents! Oh, I hope everyone we knew was gone! (starts crying)

Joseph:

What? What?

Mary:

(Holds out crumpled paper) It's Herod! He's after what he calls "that newborn usurper and pretender to the throne"!

Joseph:

What? (tries to take paper, but Mary has a tight grip on it)

Mary:

(staring into distance) Herod killed every baby under two years old in the area around Bethlehem. He killed every woman who was pregnant... they would have killed our baby! (holds Jesus tightly to her and weeps)

Joseph:

(stunned, walks quietly, patting Mary's hand)

Mary:

An angel he sees... A dream he has... And am I glad he did... Honey, let's go home... to Egypt.


NOTES

Narrator: The narrator can sound calm and serious, use a bad NYC Yiddish accent, go for a BBC vive, sound like the radio narrator for "Chicken Man" or "The Tooth Fairy", whatever works.

Baby: The baby Jesus may be played by a doll, a light bulb, an actual baby, whatever works. A stuffed Yoda is probably going a little too far, especially if he's holding a light saber.

Peter: the donkey may be played by a stuffed animal, a cardboard cutout, a person on all fours, whatever works.

Child: various children scurry around carrying signs, props, etc. The main idea is that these people are short. Use children, midgets, people squatting, puppets, muppets, short robots, whatever works.

Gold: Use large, fake coins, a stick of butter, gold bricks, whatever works.

Costumes: Use authentic 0th century Hebrew clothing, bathrobes and dish towels, blue jeans and tees, cowboy and Indian outfits, whatever works.

Curtains: If you don't have any, dim the lights, hold up big pieces of paper or cardboard, whatever works.

Props: Get as sophisticated or as silly as you like. The props should probably match the clothes. Marker on butcher paper or large boxes is good for the oasis and Motel 6 in any event. Sun moving across the sky is well played by a yellow cardboard sun with rays being carried by a "child".

Production: This play works well at any level of amateurism. It's fun to hand out props and scripts to unsuspecting audience members at a gathering and have people do it with no foreknowledge. It might even work as a professionally done drama. I haven't had the pleasure of trying that.

30 November 2014

When Structures Kill

I can't find the word "organic" anywhere in the Bible. My Hebrew is non-existent and my Greek nearly so but I haven't ever run across it in a concordance, an inter-linear, or any translation or interpretation (I doubt the word existed during the time of King James).

But the original Church of Jesus was totally organic- it was Jesus and people and food and miracles and joy and stuff like that. It was constantly in motion, constantly growing, constantly new. The main non-organic part was Holy Spirit, who just takes organic into new realms.

In too many cases, the modern version of the Church (or rather, many churches) thinks in terms of structures- land, physical plant, hierarchy, covering, accountability, and so on. In and of themselves, there's nothing wrong with any of these. But taken to extremes they are extremely destructive. Couple these with lots of rules and regulations (as inevitably happens when structures take over) and you ten toward becoming a cult. Blech.

If the structures don't facilitate the organic Church- the community, the family- then I have no use for them. If the bricks, rules, or any other structure tries to define / solely contain / otherwise run the organic relationships, I'm out.

When structures start trumping the organic Church, they are probably driven by one or more of these culprits:

  1. Control - someone feels the need
  2. Fear - "If we don't..." "If we let..." "What if?" "Do you know what happened?" "Do you know what could happen?"
  3. Misunderstanding the Bible
  4. Taking verses out of context
There may well be others but I have seen these time and again. I've seen a lot of good people hurt badly by all of these. The antidotes?
  1. Love.
  2. Grace.
  3. Honor.
  4. Freedom.
  5. Joy
  6. Peace
All that stuff. Every. Last. Time. And we know the real source of the antidote- a relationship with God: with Daddy, with Jesus, with Holy Spirit.

I honestly don't care if you have joined a "local church" although there's a lot to be said for that if you can find a healthy one (or are healthy enough to help grow one). Community and family look different to different people. If your community and family are strictly online, that's better than nothing! (There was a time that other than my wife, my main community of faith was online.) But some days you need a hug, Or coffee or tea. Or whatever. Or they do. So look around you. There's someone. Embrace your brother and sister regardless of where they worship or what label (if any) they wear. Remember the second commandment- just like the first- "love your neighbor as yourself". Laugh with those who rejoice and weep with those who mourn. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Take care of the outcast. Eat and drink together. Sing, dance, play games, talk, pray, sit quietly, go for walks, heal the sick, set the captive free.

That's what Jesus did. That's what the disciples did. Why do we think we have a better plan? Do you really think Jesus would have been more effective with modern business methods? Do you really think he didn't see these coming? He did. He might have wept.