It is all very well for the Bible to command us in one place to be urgent (2 Timothy 4:2) and in another to do all things decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).The problem is the Bible does not tell us which commandment applies to which situation.Thus, some Christians -- like the Methodists -- are regularly more urgent than decent and some -- like the Presbyterians -- are regularly more decent than urgent.
Declining membership is a major problem for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and doubtless will remain so until our leaders figure out why persons decline to be members.Quite naturally, various groups of Presbyterians blame these problems on those who do not share their primary interests:The church is too liberal or too conservative; there is too much or too little social action; too many or too few prayer meetings; too much or too little liturgy, and so on and on.
Two hundred years ago frontier religious revivals were made necessary by the scarcity of preachers and the great distances between people in America west of the Alleghenies.
First held in the open, these events were later held in large tents and then in roofed, but opensided, rough-hewn buildings called tabernacles.With three preaching services every day, the common feature of tents and tabernacles was a floor covered with sawdust.
Embarrassing my wife, Margaret, is not -- I swear -- the goal of my life, but if embarrassing her were my purpose I could happily retire, having succeeded beyond my wildest expectations many times over.For example, on our last wedding anniversary (romantic devil that I am) I thought I should take her out for an experience in elegant dining.Her choice -- Mexican food -- was a bit of a sacrifice because while Margaret likes spicy food, it doesn't agree with me.