Summary: why we are the church here today
Church 101: What the church is good for.
Last Monday, I had the opportunity to visit Westminster Abbey out in Mission. It is situated in a beautiful location, high atop a hill. And the steeple of the building, it soared to the skies and when you walk in you are quickly impressed by the high ceiling and the stained glass windows. On the door of that Abbey, were inscribed words, but I could not make it out. It was written in Latin. I thought to myself, who could understand that in today’s world? What is the church good for, I wonder, if it is not able to speak to our world…
This is our world folks… In 1994, a New Mexico jury awarded $ 2.9 million U.S. in damages to 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who suffered third-degree burns to her legs, groin and buttocks after spilling a cup of McDonald’s coffee on herself. Remember that? There are others…
January 2000: Kathleen Robertson of Austin Texas was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little so-and-so was her own son.
June 1998: A 19 year old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn’t notice there was someone at the wheel of the car, when he was trying to steal his neighbor’s hubcaps.
Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City. In November 2000, Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32 foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, having joined the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the drivers seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly the Winnie left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the handbook that he couldn’t actually do this. He was awarded $1,750,000 plus a new Winnie. (Winniebago actually changed their handbooks on the back of this court case, just in case there are any other complete morons buying their vehicles.)
All these stories have a common thread. They are all about people, silly people, yes, but they are all experiencing different levels of pain and human misery. They all blame others for their misery. I wonder if we see ourselves in them? Wanting to sue the pants off your so-called tormentor, claiming no fault, or oh if only I had the money they had? And it seems the only recourse, the only American thing to do, the only way out of pain is to sue the pants off some people. Money, it seems, is still the major way out of pain. But consider this, Have you ever tried to apply cash to your injuries, mental anguish, try rubbing some of $20 notes on your headaches? What is the church good for, for people like them who think money is the root of all happiness?
Bali- more than 200 people dead from an apparent terrorist bombing, sniper gunning down people in Washington DC area… People are running scared, violence it seems is never far away… what is the church good for in this world of violence?
This past Thanksgiving long weekend - At least 12 people are dead following a series of car collisions and other accidents all across B.C. It was one of the deadliest holiday weekends for fatal car accidents in recent history, according to ICBC statistics. I do not know what happened in the heads of the people who died. Perhaps there is so much stress folks have to getaway quick in their vehicles, and in their hurry and stressed out condition they fall asleep on the wheel, or they become agitated with people going too fast or too slow. But whatever the reason may be, the result is there is more pain and anguish. What is the world good for in world of stressed out people with their fast cars?
Tuesday in Kamloops, Richard Anderson, the 56-year-old manager of the pollution prevention branch of the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, reportedly unhappy with his job and that day he received some sort of disciplinary action connected to his work. It seems he was very much angered. Anderson felt pain and anguish. I suspect being 56 and perhaps the prospect of losing a well-paying job is like a deathblow to him. And it seemed so for later he returned to his workplace where he fired his gun and shot two others and turned the gun on himself. From the media-reports, it seems he is very much a mind your own business, very private type of a man. What is the church good for people like Anderson who don’t seem to know how to handle pain and anguish but resort to violence?