More Jackson County Opinions...

April 25, 2001


Column
By Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
April 25, 2001

Read this while you wait
Wait: "to stay or be inactive until someone comes or something happens; to defer or suspend speech, action, etc.; hold up going on."
Meanwhile, while you are holding up going on, the early bird comes along and snatches up the best worm.
Wait-and-see: "waiting until matters develop further or take a turn; watchful."
Ain't much happening there either, is it? While you are watching, the second-in-line bird comes along and snatches the second-best worm right out from under your nose.
Waiting game: "the tactic or strategy of not attempting to secure an advantage immediately, with a view to more effective action at a later stage."
Not much wealth or worth in that wait, is there? Wait (sleep) long enough and you'll wake up to a cupboard bare of all goodies, including the worm you've always wanted.
Wait: "what a waste." That's my definition, and it couldn't be more accurate. I'll put my wasted waiting up against anybody's.
The only waiting worth its weight is waiting upon the Lord. And that's not really waiting. It's a continuous, perpetual, 'round-the-clock spiritual walk that makes all other waiting productive, creative and fulfilling. Even waiting in the Wal-Mart checkout line is a joy. Some of you know what I mean. It's all about attitude.
But lest we get carried away here, let us move on to the extensive research I did the other day while waiting for the Waffle House chef to cook my breakfast. Incidentally, the Waffle House is one of my favorite waiting places.
Preliminary results revealed that there are 24 hours in a typical day, and those 24 hours are divided into three equal segments, as follows: eight hours working, eight hours sleeping, and eight hours waiting.
However, while waiting for Shirley to get her allergy shot at the doctor's office (the doctor's office is not one of my favorite places), I realized that further study was needed, especially in the area of work.
An awful lot of wait is involved in work.
I learned from the automobile mechanic waiting in the chair next to me that he had been waiting all morning for UPS or FedEx (he didn't remember which) to bring him a part. And here he was, waiting to see the doctor.
Meanwhile, back at the dealership, the service manager was waiting for somebody at the parts company to answer the phone, but all he got was classical music and "your call is important to us, thanks for waiting, our next available representative will be with you shortly."
Meanwhile, up in the ivory tower, the CEO, president, general manager and sales manager were trying to explain to an irate customer why he had to wait four hours to get a recalled seatbelt replaced.
The customer was irate because a dot-com client had been waiting four hours for him to come see why all the computers blew up. Twenty employees were drinking coffee, eating doughnuts, smoking cigarettes, playing rummy, flirting - and waiting.
Meanwhile, out in the conference room, 13 car salesmen had been waiting an hour for the sales manager to show up and get on with the weekly sales meeting.
One of them said he had a potential customer waiting in the used car lot, and if he didn't make a sale pretty quick, his wife and kids would have to wait another week for him to bring home the bacon.
On the way home from the doctor's office, waiting for every red light in Athens to turn green, I realized I didn't have a clue about the rules of the waiting game. I wasn't even sure if there are any rules.
Nevertheless, that evening, waiting to be seated at the Outback, I continued to pursue the subject. Waiting for the server (waiter or waitress to you old folks), waiting for the appetizer, waiting for the salad, waiting for the entrée, waiting for dessert, waiting for coffee, waiting for the check, waiting for my credit card receipt, I realized that my early research results were totally flawed. I now believe it will be necessary to borrow time from sleep and work and transfer that time to wait. As of today, the day is divided into three unequal segments, as follows: four hours sleeping, two hours working, and 18 hours waiting.
Further study is necessary before we can turn waiting into a productive, creative and fulfilling art form. Waiting on the Lord would do it, but we can't quit waiting on all that other stuff (look up stuff) long enough to do that.
In the meantime, I am taking a wait-and-see attitude.
But I will let you in on one little secret that works for me. Don't go anywhere without a pad and pencil. While waiting the last 18 hours or so, I jotted down these notes. I don't know how productive, creative and fulfilling they are. All I know is, they helped me fill my allotted space in The Herald this week.
If reading them while you waited anywhere for anybody or anything for any reason made your wait the least bit bearable or enjoyable, I am very pleased. And thankful.
I am not sure who said this - I think it was either Voltaire or Emerson - but it is true. "Every time is a good time if you know what to do with it."
Such a time is worth waiting for. And contrary to my definition, such a wait is never wasted.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.

Column
By Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
April 25, 2001


Gotta fit the mold to go to some churches
If Jesus were walking on the Earth today, I bet he wouldn't go to many churches. I bet he'd walk on by. He probably wouldn't even give them a second look.
Going to many churches isn't about faith anymore. It's not about reading the Bible. It's not about growing as a Christian. It isn't even about worshipping God, praying or spreading the Gospel.
Instead, too many churches have turned into a hypocritical show.
Yes, as long as you fit the mold, everything is fine. You're in good shape if you come wearing the right pants and the right shirt. Everything's good if you've got on that new dress and your hair is fixed just right. No problems as long as you talk right, look right and act right.
But should you ever wander outside these imaginary boundaries, the message most churches send is that they don't want you there. That's right, you can turn around and go home. You're just not good enough to be in God's house.
True, you should present yourself in God's house in a respectful manner. However, some people don't know anything about God and haven't developed that sense of respect.
So it's wrong to turn them away. It's wrong to embarrass them and make them feel unwelcome. And it's certainly wrong to judge them.
They have come to church seeking God. They are there because they need you to talk to them. They need your kindness. They need you to lead them to God.
But instead of witnessing, you judge. Instead of welcoming, you shun. And instead of loving, you act like they don't belong there.
Jesus never did that. He went to the outcasts of society. He knew they needed him, probably more than others. He certainly never judged or condemned anyone on the basis of looks. He treated everyone with love and kindness.
But a lot of churches don't do that. I know of too many people who have been shunned because they are different; because they don't dress like the rest of us; because they don't act like the rest of us. And churches that fall into that hypocrisy aren't teaching God's message.
Going to church should never be about clothing or hairstyle or makeup. Going to church should be about God; about following his word; about spreading his word.
When someone comes into church with a T-shirt on or even purple hair, don't gaze at her. Don't get up and move to another pew.
Go over and talk to her. Welcome her. Love her. That's what Jesus would do. And that's what we all should do.
And if you do judge her and turn a cold shoulder, then you're acting even more disrespectful than she is.
In fact, you are standing in God's house showing God that you don't want to obey him. That you don't want to spread his Gospel. And that you certainly don't want to care for your fellow man.
And if that's the message you want to send God, go ahead. But I bet he's got a message waiting for you and I bet you won't like it.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is fouche@nbank.net.

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