Aldersgate Men

Friday, September 15, 2006

Encroachment: 5 Yard Penalty

The first time a football fan hears 'encroachment' they think, "they couldn't come up with a better word?". In football, the defense is allowed to cross over the line of scrimmage and go back before the snap as long as they don't touch the offense. They touch: 5-yard penalty for encroachment.

In Christian life, we are SUPPOSED TO encroach. Proverbs 27:17, "as iron sharpens iron".. We should embrace encroachment by another brother, just as we should be quick to encroach, especially when we see a brother in need or in peril. When we see a brother doing something that Christ probably wouldn't do, whether to us or to others, we should be encroaching on that activity. At the same time we should be prepared for a brother to 'get up in our grill' at times, even times we don't even realize we are out of line, times when we aren't out of line.

That does not mean we are going to enjoy the short-term pain it may cause, but we should be excited in the long-term strength it brings. Like lifting weights, right now, even tomorrow it hurts, but in two days we know there is greater strength.

I struggle with this, both as encroacher and encroachee. I need to stay focused on the long-term gain. I often shy away from the short-term pain, for myself, for my brother. If Christ avoided the short-term pain, we'd probably all be terrorists of some kind, forcing our way on others, or stepping on people to get our own way. Thankfully He did not, He took the short-term pain, focused on the long-term gain. His choice should embolden us to make the same choice.

So if you are on offense, embrace the encroachment, earned or not. Your brother's 'got your back', and the ball will be moved closer to the goal. If you are on defense and you think you see a violation on the offense, cause the encroachment, because in the end we're on the same team. Help your brother move that ball further down the field.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Power of Prayer...

I am reading a book now called Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett, about a hostage takeover of a birthday party in South America.

According to Amazon:
In Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honour of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air-conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favourite soap opera--and thus, from the beginning, things go awry.
Among the hostages are not only Hosokawa and Roxanne Coss, the American soprano, but an assortment of Russian, Italian and French diplomats. A Swiss Red Cross negotiator named Joachim Messner is roped into service while on holiday. He comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands, and the days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months.

One of the characters is a priest, and when his parish finds out he is among the hostages, they begin to say the mass in his name. One of the things that he says, as he begins to consider this, is how amazing it is that his name is being lifted up from so many people, and that these people are lifting his name up to the very ear of God. I had never considered your prayers in quite that way until I read this passage. Now that I have, I will never be able to think of it otherwise.