Mike Cope's blog

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Diane says I never take enough clothes when I travel. For example, even though I was coming to Costa Rica for a week, I didn't check anything through. A carry-on was plenty for me. I feel no need to wear clothes only once--especially when I'm around people I don't know. (Besides, isn't this an American thing? The very kind man I am staying with either has a wardrobe consisting of a half dozen shirts that are exactly alike . . . or he doesn't worry about changing. He follows the GUY philosophy: If it was clean enough to wear at the end of yesterday, it is clean enough for this morning. And if it isn't clean enough for this morning I shouldn't have been wearing it last night.) (Brief private note to my wife: Honey, that is all I'm writing for today. Turn off the computer and have a nice evening.) . . . Having said all that, it appears that in this instance my Beloved may have been right. (Being up to my eyeballs in language school, I cannot help but wonder how long it would take for me to figure out the right words for "may have been right" in Spanish.) I may not have factored in how much walking and sweating I would do. So this morning after breakfast (which we eat at 6:00 since they are also early risers) Georgina gave me a lesson on washing clothes by hand without wasting water. I hate to admit it, but I feel like I should receive a boy scout badge for conservation. I like both my teachers. But my grammar profesora, a very religious woman, found out that I'm a preacher and it's as if she is on a mission from God to get me to learn. Occasionally I see her wince a bit at what I've said as if the gospel might be at stake. I want to reassure her, "Lighten up. It's all right. I'm not going to confuse the words for Jesus and Satan." However, I don't know the word for Satan. (A good guess would be "satan.") The other profesora is younger and apparently not quite as religious and isn't concerned with what I do. What I like best is that she's having fun teaching. As I continue writing, mostly because I'm enjoying this moment in English, I wonder: Why do people keep writing "churches of Christ" instead of "Churches of Christ"? I hope it's not the old illusion of innocence (to borrow from Leonard and Richard's incredible book) that we're the true church. I.e., since we're the real church (code language: the LORD'S church), we are Christ's church, or (lowercase) churches of Christ. I prefer "Churches of Christ." This admits that while we love much about our heritage and the nondenominational dream, we are a group, a denomination. We have our own colleges, our own camps, our own papers, our own quirks, our own family stories, and our own language. We're just a small part of the body of Christ, however. As I mentioned, the other student in my class is 18. She's a liberal Episcopalian (her words) and I'm a conservative Church of Christ guy. All right, maybe moderate. Is it an accident that my strength is grammar and hers is vocab? I know the rules and she knows how to make words dance. Both are important. A good thing to remember when I think of the body of Christ.


  • Even though I somewhat understand the original intent in not capitalizing the "c", no one outside c/Churches of Christ knows what it means or why we would do that. It just looks like a spelling/grammar error.

    By Blogger Josh, at 6/16/2005 03:17:00 PM  

  • I've often wondered the same about the c/Churches of Christ. Is it blasphemy that I think the same thing about capitalizing words like "Him", "He", and "His" when referring to the Almighty. (noticed I capitalized "Almighty", as this is an alias, not just an adjective.) As if, while God's power is certainly enough to transend English language grammar, would he give a rip?

    By Blogger Kyle, at 6/16/2005 03:50:00 PM  

  • So ... would it be Iglesia de Cristo rather than iglesia de Cristo?

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 6/16/2005 04:24:00 PM  

  • In case you're curious, the word for Satan is Satanas (accent on the last "a"). He is also referred to as "el diablo" (the devil). Don't think you'll be confusing either of those words with Jesus! :)

    And by the way, you've been married how long and you're just now figuring out that your wife is right? :) .... Of course, this is coming from the girl who always packs WAY too much for any trip I am taking, clothes or otherwise. I can't help it...it's in my blood! I pray that you continue to have a wonderful time in Costa Rica! Love and prayers, Heather

    By Blogger Heather A, at 6/16/2005 05:40:00 PM  

  • I hope you are having a blessed time. Costa Rica is one of my favorite places I have ever been. My eyes were opened in many new ways there. Amazing how a place can have such beauty and brokenness all at the same time...maybe there's another connection to our body of Christ there?

    By Blogger tine, at 6/16/2005 07:31:00 PM  

  • Good stuff brother! Funny though, I think I always write out "churches of Christ" out of habit more than anything else. Until you said something I didn't even realize I did it. Enjoy Costa Rica!

    By Blogger CL, at 6/16/2005 07:40:00 PM  

  • Mike, I love it. Just remember that liberal and conservative all change depending on location, I mean they think I am a flaming liberal in Yampertown and a staunch conservative in Nashville.

    So if you want to be a conservative in Costa Rica you can be. Just try to be nice, and don’t condemn anyone to hell.

    By Blogger Jeremy Houck <>, at 6/16/2005 08:27:00 PM  

  • so would you prefer "Smith family" or "Smith Family"?

    By Blogger J. Cliff, at 6/17/2005 01:03:00 AM  

  • When we come back to the States from Africa, we're always amazed that we can stand to go to bed without taking a shower. Many Americans only sweat in the gym, if then.

    You're learning something about how precious water is and we take it's ready availabilty and our washing machines for granted.

    The BIG C/little C thing revolves around an issue that many of us are still relunctant to admit (though we know in our hearts its true), that "we are a denomination." The very fact that we can refer to "we" and know who "we" are means that it's true. Yuck!

    By Blogger Anthony Parker, at 6/17/2005 02:30:00 AM  

  • I can't speak for anyone but me, but I type it as church of Christ to put the emphasis on Christ. Too many congregations are already full of themselves. On our wedding invitations (28 years ago) we put "the meetinghouse of the church of Christ". How's that for nitpicking?

    By Blogger KathyGS, at 6/17/2005 04:33:00 AM  

  • Conservative, moderate, liberal.
    I think I've always been biblically conservative. It's just that recently I have been taught the parts about life in the Kingdom of God, under the rule of the (capital) One with all authority who baptizes in the Spirit, observing women who pray and prophesy... Oops, now I'm a moderate sliding down the precipice?


    By Blogger mchristophoros, at 6/17/2005 06:28:00 AM  

  • Oh dear! This "C" or "c" discussion just further entrenches me in my dislike for tags, pet names, etc.

    The only one that interests me is how we live to His glory and address our Savior - that He is the ONLY (capital "C") Christ.

    My choice of congregation is based on where the nearest :o) Bible teaching, Jesus following, ministering/missional group can be found, rather than what's the name over the door.

    So guess I'm now a Pan-Churchian as well as a Pan-millinealist?? ;) It is, after all, God's Church and it'll all pan out when He returns, won't it!! ;) lol

    Note to self: "Self - quit being such a brat!!" :o)

    Mike, forgot to ask. Are you In San Juan or in one of the smaller cities? If in San Juan, do they still have the wonderful street address system of no numbers, rather how far a house is from, for instance, the nearest pharmacy or - next door to the yellow/purple polka-dot house?

    What a charming city.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 6/17/2005 06:55:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    Hola desde Indiana. Ojala que usted esta aprendiendo mucho en su tiempo en Costa Rica. Tengo una amiga que vive en Guanacaste - Costa Rica es un pais maravilloso, no?
    Buena suerte con la lengua. Esto es solomente practica para su tiempo en Antigua, donde usted va a aprender hablar fluidamente, no?
    Que Dios le bendiga,
    kent <><

    By Blogger kentbrantly, at 6/17/2005 07:23:00 AM  

  • Sweeping Statement Alert: Every member of the Churches of Christ is a theological conservative. If someone's not a theological conservative, that person would go out from among us, because he was not of us.

    That said, Evertt Huffard the Younger (that's "W.") taught me that there's not only a spectrum that runs from traditional to progressive, there's an intersecting spectrum that runs from "open" to "closed."

    I myself am traditional. But I don't want to be, and hope I'm not, closed.

    Sorry, don't know how to say any of that in Spanish.

    By Blogger Frank Bellizzi, at 6/17/2005 09:46:00 AM  

  • Actually, I write church of Christ for the opposite reason.

    I write it that way with a little "c" because I think it makes us sound more denominational. Since we capitalize Him, He, Almighty, etc...capitalizing Church would make it sound more like the old non-denominational way to me...like we are THE Church.

    Writing church, means I acknowledge we are our own group.

    By Blogger Big Mike Lewis, at 6/17/2005 10:46:00 AM  

  • I always write church of Christ on my checks and they get cashed just fine, even at Highland.

    I am sure Josh is right. It does appear strange, but most things do out of context.

    What I love about this group of people who introduced me to the Father is that they had it in mind to drop brand names and go with a generic label that honored Christ, a standard under which all Christians could rally. I still think it is an attractive offer.

    Certainly, there are those who have manipulated this message to honor themselves, but there are guys like that in every group.

    I hate to see the original message lost because someone tried to market it as a non-denomination denomination. Sounds a bit like the "un-cola cola" thing.

    If, I may take liberty with Romans 14:6,8

    6He who regards the letter "C" as special, does so to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains from using the big "C", does so to the Lord.

    8If we use "c", we "c" to the Lord; and if we use "C", we "C" to the Lord. So, whether we "c" or "C", we belong to the Lord.

    'Nuff said.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 6/17/2005 12:11:00 PM  

  • If my memory serves me correctly, there is a fabulous steak and Tican restaurant up above San Juan. I think it's Ram Luna (link below). It has an absolutely breathtaking view at night of San Juan, as it's positioned in the mountain overlooking the valley. The steak, beef, etc was all mouth-watering. The ride up to the restaurant is awesome.

    I did a music mission there several years ago, and fell in love with the people ... there are some wonderful Christians there. I hope you run into them!

    Also, by now you have probably eaten at a few sodas ... they are all pretty terrific. Learning another language certainly expands your horizons, not to mention your waistline. It would be great if you could visit a coffee plantation, too. Enjoy all the great new stuff God has on offer there for you. The language will fall into place, especially as you allow yourself to experience all the non-tourist places, etc.



    By Blogger Deb, at 6/17/2005 12:23:00 PM  

  • Serena hit the nail on the head, and then some! We don't go to Romans 14 enough.

    By Blogger David U, at 6/18/2005 08:56:00 AM  

  • BIG C, little c, liberal, conservative...blah, blah, blah.

    Here is the real issue: The Big U -- as in underwear! Shirts, pants, even socks can go into extra innings no problem. But we need fresh drawers daily!

    And Mike, I must admit, I thought your careful choice of words was strictly a pulpit thing. But the line: "it appears that in this instance my Beloved may have been right."

    Masterful in any language.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 6/18/2005 02:58:00 PM  

  • Like Big Mike, I have always used little "c" for "church" to avoid sounding like we were the ONLY "Church." I was railing against some of what I consider to be mis-teachings of my youth.

    Mike, I hope you're having a bueno time over there. We miss you terribly.

    By Blogger Cole, at 6/23/2005 04:57:00 PM  

  • Uncle Bud told me it was small c hurch of Christ.

    By Blogger Alice, at 7/01/2005 10:03:00 PM  

  • Uncle Bud told me it was small c hurch of Christ.

    By Blogger Alice, at 7/01/2005 10:04:00 PM  

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