Mark's Memos

Two-Horned Topics

January 19, 2020

Tom Peters, one of my favorite business consultants, quotes Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset:

 

"Why write," he asked "if this too-easy activity of pushing a pen across a paper is not given a certain bullfighting risk and we do not approach dangerous, agile and two-horned topics?"


Peters goes on to say, "I religiously read seminar evaluations, praying for evidence that I have approached two-horned topics.  That is, the first thing I look for is negative feedback.  Indeed, I am shamed when someone says, 'You were sleepy today.'  But I love it when 15 percent write, 'You were absurd.  These ideas will not work for me!'  I look at myself as having fired, in effect, that dreary 15 percent.  And good riddance. Advertising legend David Ogilvy joins me in bragging about firing clients when they became boring and began to sap his firm's creative juices.”


"In my professional service company, The Tom Peters Group, I urge my colleagues to push all clients so hard that we provoke several into running away screaming.  We are hired to agitate, and if we do not annoy the sleepiest fraction of our customers, we will not do the job I demand for the pioneering clients we do wish to serve."

 

Jesus had a way of asking hard questions that often made the comfortable, sleepy, and secure factions want to fight or to run away.  However, in every question Jesus asks he reveals something about who he is addressing and about himself.

 

This week he encounters two of John the Baptist’s disciples with the question “What are you looking for?” 

 

I hope you will join us for worship this week as we conclude our sermon series, “Jesus Revealed” with a sermon titled “A Question."

 

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Revelations through Water

January 12 2020

At a state dinner hosted by Queen Victoria for a visiting African king, everything was arranged in the most elegant of settings: hundreds of honored guests seated at long tables, the men in white-tie or dress military uniforms, the women in evening gowns.  Tiaras glittered on many women’s heads.

Laid out before them was the finest of china, flanked by gold-plated utensils.  In front of each guest, the servants had placed a finger bowl: a tiny container filled with water, with a piece of lemon rind floating in it. The finger bowl was there for the diners’ convenience, so they could discretely cleanse their fingers if they got greasy.

The visiting king came from another culture altogether.  Finger bowls were not part of his experience.  Not knowing what else to do, he picked up his finger bowl and proceeded to drink the contents.

The room fell silent.  Everyone had seen what the guest of honor had done, but nobody knew what to do about it.  This was a state occasion, one of those times when deep meaning could be read into the smallest of gestures.  There seemed no way to recover gracefully, without the visiting king being publicly embarrassed.

Queen Victoria did not miss a beat.  Reaching for her own finger bowl, she lifted it to her lips and swiftly drained the contents.  Moments later, hundreds of other finger bowls around the room were raised and drunk dry.  A diplomatic kerfuffle was averted, as an honored guest was made to feel at home.

So many years earlier along the banks of the River Jordan the water there was transformed as well in a way that revealed a deeper truth about Jesus.  This week as we continue our series, “Jesus Revealed” we will explore water – like in the finger bowls when Queen Victoria revealed hospitality, in the River Jordan God revealed something about Jesus and each of us. 

Join us Sunday as we seek to understand what Jesus by seeking to understand him more fully in the water of his and our baptism.

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Where's the Fire?

January 5, 2020

In a small Southern town, a visitor during the Christmas season happened to see a nativity scene that showed great skill and talent.

One small feature bothered the visitor, however. The three wise men were wearing firemen’s helmets.  Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, the visitor left the scene.

At a convenience store on the edge of town, he asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets.  She exploded into a rage, yelling at the man, “You damn Yankees never do read the Bible!”

He assured her that he did, but simply could not recall anything about firemen in the Bible.  She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage.  Sticking it in his face she said, “See, it says right here, ‘The three wise men came from afar.’”

I hope you will join us this Sunday as we begin the season of Epiphany.  The word Epiphany literally means to reveal.  So we will enter this season with a three week series titled “Jesus Revealed”.  This first Sunday we will explore what was being revealed about Jesus in the star that guided the Wise Men to the holy family. 

No matter how far you might feel from the Jesus I invite you to join us this Sunday we seek to come closer to Jesus and experience what he is trying to reveal to us this Epiphany.  See you in worship Sunday!

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Rev. Mark Jardine is the Senior Pastor at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. Born and raised in Bartlesville, he is a graduate of Oklahoma City University and hold his Master in Divinity from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University.
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