Year B Proper 5 Mark 3 2012
Looking A Little Bit Crazy
Mark 3:20-35

A photocopied sign was posted inside a church office. It was one of those humorous full-page slogans that people in different offices duplicate and pass among themselves. Most of us have seen this particular message, I suppose, but posted in a church office, the words took on a new meaning. There it was, taped to the cinder blocks behind a secretary's desk. The sign read, "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps."

At one level, why not put a sign like that in a church? Many churches are busy, hectic, confusing places. There are worship services to plan, educational programs to run, choirs to rehearse, fellowship dinners to organize, and outreach efforts to facilitate. There is a lot going on, and things can get frantic. The running joke in one church I know is that the staff keeps saying, "Next week it's going to get quiet," but the quiet week never comes. The work load can become a little bit crazy.

On a deeper level, there is a great deal of truth to that sign. There is something strange about the church. We are not just another club or civic organization. The church's view of reality is increasingly out of phase from a lot of prevailing views. In the church, we do and say things that do not always make sense to people outside of this house...

When You Are Wrongly Criticized
Mark 3:20-35

Anyone here like criticism?

How do you respond to criticism?

Does being criticized bring you down or fire you up?

Do you want to hunker in your bunker or lob your own volley of vitriol back at your critics?

Learning how to respond to criticism is a lifetime journey. That’s because critics will be accompanying you from cradle to grave!

Since 2012 is a big election year there is no shortage of negative, critical remarks flying around the airwaves. Of course all politicians virtuously claim they hate “negative” ads. And, of course, every candidate uses them. The justification for both sides is “Negative ads work.” Surveys allegedly show that those nasty, negative, often highly personal attacks are the most effective way of swaying public opinion. Negativity, bad-mouthing, accusatory honking profoundly changes the way we think and the way we act... presents Leonard Sweet