Liz wanted to reconnect with family that she had not seen in 25 years. Hannah wanted to visit Navan Fort, Erin wanted to go to Blarney Castle, Brenna wanted to go horseback riding, and I wanted to visit the Guinness factory…I was the only one who didn’t get to their destination.
Actually, that was my second choice…the first thing I wanted to do was visit a bunch of Vineyard churches. Now while we were in Ireland we visited three different Vineyards,…all in the North, and had a great time. On our last Sunday in Europe, we were in England I wanted to visit the London Vineyard. Well, due to a number of random circumstances…we didn’t make it. So that Sunday as we are walking around London, Liz & I are both keeping our eyes out for a place to go to church that evening. Well, at quarter to 6 that afternoon, we find ourselves in the courtyard at Westminster Abbey, where there happens to be a service starting at 6:30. (an added benefit was the tours of Westminster Abbey were expensive, but going for a church service was free!)
So we decide that’s what we’ll do. When we arrived at the main entrance however, they tell us that the power is out inside, and the place is pitch black. But, they are going to have service on the front steps. Which seemed pretty cool to us…we are at an outdoor service @ Westminster Abbey!
But, not everyone was happy. It was easy to tell the people who were part of the Westminster Abbey congregation from the rest of us…they all had cool robes, or badges, or something that let you know they were part of this church.
So a few minutes before everything starts, one of the ushers comes up to Liz & I…he has a stack of programs for the service, and he tells us, “The power inside the church is out. They should have just canceled the service, but the Canon (basically their pastor) decides he wants to go ahead anyway and hold service outside.” And then he added a hearty, “Pathetic!” (it sounded even better with a proper British accent)
My first thought was “Wow, there are grumpy, curmudgeon-y Christians everywhere you go!”
Let me ask me a couple questions about that guy…Do you think that having church outside was the big issue for him? Or do you think, if it wasn’t that, he would have found something else to grumble & complain about? Would you guess he was normally a joyful person, but meeting outside was simply over the top for him?
Or how about this…do you think this guy has caught he caught the vision for his church? Could he see the big picture, or was he a bit too concerned with how this impacted him? And that’s the big thing about grumbling and complaining, is almost always self focused. And both the Old and New Testament speak pretty clearly this issue, “Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9)
Here’s the ironic thing…often when someone is upset enough to grumble or complain, they have a valid concern, with a valid point to make…BUT, instead of talking to the right person…someone with whom they might be able to work to improve the situation, they talk to anyone but the right person. Rather than being someone who could actually improve a situation, we become a person others tune out simply because we’ve gotten a reputation as a complainer.
I mean if you were moving to London & needed to recruit a team of people…would Mr. Pathetic be someone you’d want on your team?