Monday, June 11, 2012

'Appeal to the Cat' Argumentation

I've been thinking about a little argumentation technique my wife and I have developed which I want to recommend.

I call it, "The Appeal to the Cat," and it works like this:

Let's say you and your spouse (or friend, or whomever) get in a "discussion" which is on the edge of becoming tense. It goes somethig like this ...

"Are you going to pick up your socks someday?" she says.

"I pick up my socks!" you reply.

"Really? What do you call those?"

At this point she directs your attention to socks on the floor which you cannot by any reasonable argument make out to be anybody's socks but your own.

Hmm. You know the Christian thing would just be to admit you are wrong, say "Sorry," and pick up the socks, but you are still feeling a bit feisty and are unwilling to humble yourself. So, enter the cat, Archie.

"Well," you say, "Archie told me it was okay."


"Yeah, he said the blue of the socks goes nicely with the tan color of the rug."

At this point she gets that it's a joke, and plays along.

"I don't believe Archie said that! All he ever says is 'meow.'"

"Yeah, but in cat-talk that means it's okay to leave my socks on the floor."

"Well, you need to straighten out Archie on that. And tell him the colors don't match."

Turning to the cat, you shake your finger and say, "Archie, did you hear that? No socks on the floor!"

Turning back to her as you pick up the socks, you sigh and say, "I'm always having to pick up after that cat!"

So, what could have turned into a fight ending in hard feelings becomes a joke, and the problem solved.

Will this work if you just blew $25,000 on the stock market? Uh, probably not; just for little things.

Also, you may be asking, "Does this technique also work with dogs?"

Hmm. I dunno. Give it a try.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

In a Faith Denying Environment, Should I Go or Stay?

At my Bible study group recently, the topic came up of a woman who attends a spiritually dead church who had come to know Christ. Someone in our group asked if she should leave that church or stay, and everybody said she should stay.

The reasonable logic was that Christ calls us to be a witness to the world (in this instance, to her very-dead church), and not to withdraw into our own little huddle.

True, very true ...

And yet in retrospect I think that answer is inadequate. I think a proper answer depends on the person.

Are you at least standing firm in your faith in a faith-disparaging environment? Better yet, are you reaching out with the love of Christ in that environment?

If so, it is probably a great thing for you to stay. If you are an evangelist, by all means be one!

Or, do you find yourself hiding your faith and being a bit evasive if people ask about it? ("Well, yeah, sometimes I go to church on Sunday. It's kind of something my Mom expects.")

If so, are you going to change? If you can't honestly say you will change then you should probably get out. For the time being, at any rate, you need a more supportive environment. And I am not just talking about getting out of a dead church. I am talking about getting out of a job, a neighborhood, a city, or any other negative environment.

If you become a just one more worldly Christian then you become just one more reason for the world to despise Christ.

And yes, even if you get out of a destructive environment and into a good one, like my Bible study friends say, you are still called upon to reach out! But if you read the very short Third Letter of John in the New Testament you will find John says (vs 8) that those who support Christian workers are "fellow-workers with the truth." So, do your outreach by supporting a missionary, by giving to Christian relief organizations, by supporting an inner-city outreach, or just by being like Tabitha (Acts 9), who helped the poor by sewing clothes.