Mike Cope's blog

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Tonight I'm preaching in Oasis on "The Gospel According to George Lucas." I promise not to make a series out of this. It will be brief and (relatively) painless. Bits of this story have lived inside me since 1977. We got fairly good news today from the BONE GUY. He said Chris can quit wearing his back brace unless he's tired or is lifting more than 15-20 pounds. Hurrah! He also said he can do some light activities: he can swim, but not around rough play; he can shoot hoops, but he can't run or jump; he can play catch, but he can't pitch hard. When he said the last part, I thought I was going to cry. I have missed playing catch with my kid in the front yard. - - - - Kenny Rogers and Roger Clemens. Two fortysomethings whose average ERA this year is about 1.40. On behalf of middle-aged men everywhere, I thank them both. - - - - Here is the exact quote of what I wrote a few days ago: "Just a question about our trip. Is there a rule that Churches of Christ in small towns HAVE to put signs just outside the city limits telling people where their building is located? I don't see those signs for Lutherans, for Methodists, for Catholics, or for Baptists. But almost every town you enter has a sign saying 'The Blah-Blah-Blah Church of Christ welcomes you' followed by directions." From THAT, I was chastised by e-mail and comment for being condescending, unfair, and spiteful. Hmmmm. As Yoda would say, "A bit prickly we are." Sorry. I've re-read it and nothing seems condescending, unfair, and spiteful. It's just a funny thing about "us": we have no headquarters, no one to make decisions, and yet it's true of Churches of Christ all over. Please, I'm not anti-sign. (I am, however, anti-stupid-sign -- signs with messages that are too trite and too cute. But that's another blog. I'll come back to that in an attempt to be condescending, unfair, and spiteful.) We came back a different route and didn't see as many Church of Christ welcoming signs. But my favorite was this one: "The Churches of Christ in Waxahatchie welcome you." It had the name of three (maybe all three?) of the C of Cs in town. Much better message than three different signs!


  • I recently preached several times about "Sharing Our Faith," and each time I opened with 10 or 12 powerpoint images of silly church signs from across the country (although not just from the CoC). Sort of as examples of less than great ways to share our faith. It was meant in a spirit of fun, and I THINK it was taken that way...no angry e-mails yet. You've probably already seen it but I got many of the images from:
    (disclaimer: not a Christian site). I agree we can poke fun without being condescending.

    Great news about Chris!

    And my favorite Star Wars quote and insight to the spirituality of George Lucas, from Revenge of the Sith -
    Vader: "If you don't stand with me, you're my enemy."
    Obi-Wan: "Only Sith deal in absolutes!"

    By Blogger Neal W., at 6/01/2005 05:46:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    I have to disagree with you about us putting signs up in small towns. I travel the roads of West Texas to the tune of 50,000 miles a day I am also in the sign business though the bigger ones and we are not the only people who put signs up and in some cases we don't have signs up. The Baptist don't need signs in small town because they are on the main street. We just a back street kind of fellowship, destined to be in the suburbs of even the smallest towns.

    To hiding on the backstreets
    Hiding on the backstreets - Springsteen

    By Blogger happytheman, at 6/01/2005 06:30:00 AM  

  • that would be a year 50,000 miles a year. Though I could use the air miles.

    By Blogger happytheman, at 6/01/2005 06:30:00 AM  

  • i had a Bible-major friend in college who preached a "Star Wars" sermon at Minter Lane right after the very first episode came out in '77. at the time, Holbert Rideout was one of the elders there, and my friend claimed that when Darth Vader did his signature loud breathing, he was actually saying "Hollll-beeert." if you listen to it that way, it does sound like it!

    sounds like a good trend for Chris.

    i think one reason "CoC"s traditionally have been wont to post directional signs outside small towns is because traditionally they/we have thought they/we are the only ones going to heaven. i mean - if you're on vacation and want to worship publicly on sunday, God forbid you do it, even once, using "strange fire." ;-) and what of three "CoC"s in Waxahachie? i thought there was only ONE body? ;-)

    By Blogger ed, at 6/01/2005 06:35:00 AM  

  • Mike, this may not be ALL of the problem, but I really believe that communication by print certainly has it's liabilities! People on the other end can't see your facial expressions, they can't hear your tone of voice.....etc. Add to that the fact that maybe some of these people might not even know you very well. So, with so many blanks not being filled in, I can see how someone can misinterpret your message. Oh, and I didn't even take into consideration what all has just happened in their life or in their church situation.

    You know your motives! No need to defend yourself, dude. Hey, being church of Christ means "never having to say you are sorry"! :)

    Or wrong.

    By Blogger David U, at 6/01/2005 06:37:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    In reference to the offended emails or defensive responses, I just wonder what would happen if we took the Gospel as seriously as we take ourselves?

    Tony's Blog

    By Blogger Tony Arnold, at 6/01/2005 06:50:00 AM  

  • Good news for Chris, and for you! We have just moved into a place with a 405-foot long front yard, and I can now go hit flies to my boys without being able to hit it out into the street. It feels great, and I can relate to your joy at being able to do that with Chris.

    As to the other issue, I have come to the conclusion over the past several months' blog reading (several blogs, not just this one) that we have a tendency to be very self-critical (self-absorbed?) as a body of believers. You can hardly open up any subject having to do with "our" fellowship without a whole boatload of critical comments coming your way from one camp or another within the family. Even this comment by me sounds that way, but it is just an observation. Keith Brenton recently made a statement on his blog that he was going to try to avoid getting into subjects that are CoC centric, and just focus on the gospel. I appreciate that move, though I know there does need to be discussion of these topics somewhere. But hey, everybody, lighten up, okay? Mike's mentioning CoC signs is just funny, and doesn't mean that "we have thought we were the only ones going to heaven" or anything like that.

    By Blogger don, at 6/01/2005 06:59:00 AM  

  • Wish I could hear your George Lucas message. I am a fan of the original 3 Star Wars. I never got into the recent three as I fell asleep during the clone wars. I will venture to see "....The Sith" or at least read the book.

    Great to hear about Chris!

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 6/01/2005 07:17:00 AM  

  • To Tony...AMEN!!!

    By Blogger Jana, at 6/01/2005 07:41:00 AM  

  • You thought you rcvd angry e-mails! Today Larry James speaks about a verse in Proverbs saying it is okay to drink, I am wondering how many angry e-mails he will rcv.(you have a Larry James icon so people can read it)

    I am so excited about Chris doing better. Thank God!!!

    By Blogger owldog, at 6/01/2005 07:47:00 AM  

  • Awesome news about Chris!
    You guys deserve many cool evenings of pitch, hoops, and whatever else suits your fancy.

    I love the church signs and my ability to laugh at them means either I am warped or mentally sane. Can I be both?

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 6/01/2005 08:05:00 AM  

  • Ed--that is hilarious. I was an 8yr old out there in the auditorium in Minter Lane loving every minute of that.

    Mike--sorry for the dumb comments and email you've gotten over such a petty thing. Mercy. Did they tell you in the email that they were trying to determine if they would "endorse" you? Perhaps you'd rather address the writers of my recent email. I'll just pass that on to you, dear brother.

    Say hi to Chris and the gang for me. We miss you guys.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 6/01/2005 08:42:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    I didn't think you were condescending and unfair, but I think you might have skipped a few signs somewhere. In my previous neck of the woods in NE Texas, the CofC always had the smallest signs, completely outgunned by the Presbyterians and Methodists, Kiwanis and Lions. Maybe it's like when you buy a new car and suddenly notice the same model is everywhere.

    By Blogger James, at 6/01/2005 09:14:00 AM  

  • The sign to top ALL signs - that even made regional news around here, for and against - was the one just off Interstate 59 in the center median of the main four lane street into the town of Picayune, Mississippi, which states:

    "JESUS is LORD over Picayune"

    There was a big controversy over the sign seveal years being in the public median, so now the sign hangs to the right side of the street into town up on a pole.

    Only in Mississippi!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/01/2005 10:04:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    The news about Chris is a blessing. I pray that he will be able to jump and chicken fight soon enough. How are the other families, and the Borelands doing?

    And for the comments maybe they were not directed at you but other comments made.

    By Blogger Jeremy Houck <>, at 6/01/2005 10:17:00 AM  

  • I always thought that a blog was supposed to be a safe place to leave your thoughts. Guess not. I don't think that you were saying small town signs were a bad thing, you were just stating that it's a funny quirk about the CoC. What did everyone miss? Oh, well.

    Getting to see the Rocket is a blessing itself. But getting to see him win with the bats he has to support is darn near a miracle these days.

    By Blogger Kyle, at 6/01/2005 10:36:00 AM  

  • Mike-

    I'm going to miss tonight's lesson, and - and as one of Highland's Star Wars nerds - I'm kicking myself already. Will it be taped?

    I was about to tear-up myself when I read the news about Chris. And Julie seems to be improving, too. And John Weston, as I understand, though I haven't talked to his folks is a couple of weeks. Yet I still hurt for the Bourlands.

    On Baseball: Its been almost a year now, but how about the US Women's Olympic soccer team? I think I was rooting for all of these moms in their thirties for the same reasons you like Rogers and Clemens.

    On the signs issue: nothing wrong with that entry that I can find. Doesn't sound mean or critical. I keep wondering: If we can't laugh at our funny little quirks, how will we ever learn to deal with the major ones - the ones that matter?

    By Blogger Matt, at 6/01/2005 02:12:00 PM  

  • A huge YEAH!!! and praise the Lord for the news about Chris!!! I'm so glad that he will be able to enjoy some of the summer activities that a 12-yr-old (oops...I guess he's almost 13 now, isn't he!) boy should be enjoying.

    I'm sorry I missed your message about George Lucas. I really wanted to hear about it but forgot that was your topic tonight and just came home because work tired me out so much today. Maybe I can hear the tape or something.

    Tell Chris hi for me and tell Diane that I missed her at the gym yesterday! :) Love you guys!

    By Blogger Heather A, at 6/01/2005 06:34:00 PM  

  • Enjoy catch. There's not much better Father Son time. Praise God for your son's healing

    By Blogger Steve Duer, at 6/02/2005 10:38:00 AM  

  • One suggestion for Chris -- find something that's around 15 lb (or just under) and have him lift it so that he knows what the limit is. 15 lb isn't as heavy as you might think (especially if you're Chris's age!).

    By Blogger Gem, at 6/02/2005 07:42:00 PM  

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