I am beginning to want to join one of those conspiracy theory groups ... or start my own. I want to know if someone is doing something to our water supply ... or maybe air quality.
I am not talking about diseases caused by the water or air, but about what has happened to an old quality that has disappeared from our planet: common sense.
Who stole common sense, both in and out of the church? Why would they want to take that away? Don’t we work better when some common sense is in the room?
Can we post flyers asking for people to keep their eyes out for missing common sense and please report any sightings of common sense? Maybe we should post notices on our milk cartons: "Common Sense ... missing ... please contact this number if you see any acts of common sense."
So how did I come to this conclusion of sense missing?
Well, at times the church has given me many opportunities to wonder if common sense couldn’t be added to a list of spiritual gifts and become mandatory for leadership. Oh, we can only hope.
The latest item to push me over the edge was the story of an Applebee’s employee being fired. Someone posted a picture of a credit card receipt from one of her customers. The customer was a pastor, and very proudly made sure that was on her ticket: "Pastor ___ ____" on the bottom of the credit card receipt.
Now the killer part of this, and where common sense or the lack of it enters the picture, she added on the bill: I give God 10% why should I give you 18%? Then crosses off the tip figure and leaves nothing.
Great idea. No tip. Nothing. Really, this seemed like a good idea? Is this a new evangelistic tactic I am unaware of? Can I even imagine Jesus doing anything on this level?
It is a fact among restaurant workers no one really wants to work on Sundays at lunch times because Christians are such lousy customers ... and tippers.
But this is not even about that. Every once in a while in a conversation with strangers the question comes up, “What do you do?”
Man. I try to come up with clever answers. ”I work with sheep.” “ I am a very bad motivational speaker.” “I set up chairs for events.” Eventually I may tell them, “I am a pastor.” (I do love what I do!) The looks I can get! One person recently said,”Well you sure don’t fit the mold.” I wanted to hug her ... but then ...
Back to the story. Our no-tipping pastor friend is now embarrassed. It went a bit viral. Her name was visible. They eventually hid that, but too late. Why wasn’t she embarrassed before it became public news? Why put a title down if you are going to do something stu--, I mean, crazy? Why?
In the name of Jesus, why? In the name of the church, why? If the service was bad, talk to the manager. If someone was rude, talk to the person. But why the God comment and the glorious use of a title in the signature? Why? Something must be in the water ... or the air ... I hope.
So now I go to the world of higher education, which might be an exaggeration or oxymoron. Recently the University of Michigan kicked a Christian group off campus because in their bylaws you had to be a Christian to be a leader. How could this group be that narrow minded? Imagine that, Christian group on campus that requires its leaders to be Christians. Now this pains me, as I am a Wolverine fan. So the brilliant scholars that are forming the minds of our young people decide that a group cannot have rules about who can be leaders.
What is in that Ann Arbor water? The air? Put out an alert ... get this out on YouTube ... someone is messing around here. It must be a conspiracy, right? We could not really be this dull? Could we?
Now I am not surprised by this kind of stuff but I wonder, where is common sense? Personally as I watch our culture unfold before our eyes and as we watch the divide between the church and culture become increasingly wider, I think this will ultimately be a good thing for the church. We don’t need to be popular, we need to be different. Not rude and arrogant. We need to offer an alternative to what culture offers. Not the same stuff. Different.
So that is why the pastor’s goofy way of dealing with the waitstaff at Applebee’s bugs me so much. My God is generous and giving and loving. He has the only title that matters. He is God. I am not. He so loved he gave his best.
As I ponder a moment longer I think again about her statement, “I give God 10% why should I give you 18%?” I wonder what would have happened if instead of blaming the waitstaff she would have looked at the bill and thought to herself, “I only give God 10% and I need to give this young woman 18%. Hmmm, something may be off here. Maybe I need to give a bit more to God. To the poor. To missions. To the homeless?”
Maybe ... but the next time you decide to be cheap and arrogant, leave God out of it. He is neither and neither should his people be.
Now, U of M, I thought you might be bigger than this, more inclusive not less. But alas, not so. I wonder if a class on common sense would ever be offered on a campus? In a church? I'm not offering to teach it, I need help also. But I would go.
It is amazing that in this battle to be more and more inclusive we become less so. We become more divided ... more exclusive ... more arrogant. I guess my prayer would be, “God send your Spirit here and let him show up in common sense ... please!”