Sunday, August 31, 2003

Another Sunday another church

Karol and I visited another church this morning at the invitation of more friends. I'm not really wild about the time they hold services. We arrived about 0925 and it was a good 25 minute drive. That means I didn't have time for my jog this morning. Just time to bathe, get dressed, eat breakfast and leave.

Then to my surprised we went out to breakfast with the friends at the church after services. I like to eat, but two breakfasts in two hours is a bit much, even for me - urp. While we were at the restaurant, I ran across two people in the Business networking group I just joined. It's a very small world out there.

The service was nice - a mixture of traditional and modern praise music. Again, a very small congregation. Last week's attendance was 71 people.

The preacher has a beard. I really think a beard is a mistake for most people. It masks your face. You can't tell if a person with a beard is smiling or not. It takes a lot away from one's ability to make facial expressions and thus limits how much one can express oneself.

BTW, the new Hamilton Beach blender worked very well this morning. It made a nice smooth drink and may be a smidgeon quieter than my now defunct Waring. Maybe I'll clean it up and sell it on eBay. The Hamilton Beach carafe is a little larger than the Waring, even though both are rated at 40 Oz.

I have been transcribing tapes to MP3 files. I got everything hooked up and recorded from my small walkman tape player to MP3 on the computer. Now the small player may not have great fidelity, but that doesn't matter to me for two reasons.

1) My hearing isn't the good to start with.

2) Most tapes I listen to are spoken word about sales for marketing or success. Spoken word doesn't need nearly as much fidelity as music does. The tapes I transcribed are "Buying Facilitation" by Sharon Drew Morgen.

I'd really like to see how I could, inexpensively, put an MP3 player in my car. I transcribed six tapes that I will be able to burn onto six CD's. However, if I had an Mp3 player, I could easily fit them all on to just one CD!

Posted by Ted on 08/31/03 8:12 PM | Link

Saturday, August 30, 2003

nother blender bites the dust

I was making my morning breakfast drink, as is my custom this morning. As I was drinking it down I was also taking my vitamins. I had two vitamins in my mouth and was pouring the drink into my mouth, when I became aware of something else in my mouth. At first I thought it was a piece of unpuréed fruit. But as I rolled it around on my tongue, it felt long an smooth. Then I thought that maybe it was a shard of glass. I carefully removed it from my mouth and found that it was blade off my blender.

I thought to myself, "Good grief. Boy am I glad I didn't swallow that." I examined my blender and found where there used to be four blades there were now three. This was a from my Waring blender.

I did some search on the net and found that a replacement part would run me $30 to $60. I wasn't particularly impressed with my Waring blender.

Later in the day, we went to Wal-Mart and I bought a Hamilton Beach blender for about $24. That's less than the part from Waring would have cost me. I fired off a strong email to Waring, but doubt much will come of it. The blender had a one year limited warrantee and I had purchased the blender in February of last year.

Since this was Saturday, Karol and I went to Ocean City. We got there a little after 1700. We parked on 24th street and walked to a boardwalk restaurant on about 14th street. As we were eating, the sky got darker and darker. We finished and were walking up to the Dairy Queen, when the rain came down.

We took shelter in the 99 cent store. The fellow in the store immediately started hawking his plastic poncho's for $0.99. We stood around for about 15 minutes, and the rain let up, but did not completely relent. Everyone was oohing and ahhing about seeing the lightning strike the water off the coast. Personally, it made me feel like I should be further back in the store.

Did you know that in the United States more people are killed by lightning than all the tornados and hurricanes put together in any one year?

We bought poncho's and walked to the Dairy Queen and had our custards. From there we walked on down to the Music Peer at about 8th street. The rain continued to come down very lightly. We decided to call it a night and walked all the way through the rain back to the car and came home. Wet.

Posted by Ted on 08/30/03 8:11 PM | Link

Friday, August 29, 2003

Audio News

I downloaded a program called MusicMatch. They have two versions - a free one and a more powerful one for $15.00. This program lets you move between CD's and MP3's with ease. It's is really neat!

I few months ago I can purchased and downloaded six MP3's from R. C. Sproul - "Chosen By God." These six 30-minute MP3's cover predestination. I had always wanted to able to play them in my car. When a bought a new (used) car in January, it came with a CD player instead of a tape player.

With MusicMatch, I converted the MP3's to wav files and burned them on to a CD in one operation. I was able to put two half-hour teachings on to a single CD. I tested it out in my car's CD player and they played great.

I've got some audio tapes I'd like to convert to MP3 or CD. With this program it'll be a snap. I just have to run over to Radio Shak and get some cables that will let me run my tape player into the sound card on my PC. Then I can do whatever I want with them.

There are some very clever people out there.

Posted by Ted on 08/29/03 8:09 PM | Link

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Business Today

Today I was sworn in at the Vineland Chapter of the Business Networking International. As such I have added links to my new Sales & Marketing page. I was so taken with the CD that gave me at the meeting, that I converted it to an MP3 and put it on my ">Sales & Marketing page. The CD says to loan it out to other people, so that's what I'm doing. If they're unhappy with this, I'll just take it off.

Posted by Ted on 08/27/03 8:05 PM | Link

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

More on Church Usefulness

I thought of another user for churches, one I should probably have thought about first - worship. One of a church's primary functions is the worship of God.

Now a good questions is, what sort of worship is most pleasing to God? Most of us worry about what form of worship is most pleasing to us. I would presume that the faithful Christian would want to worship God in the manner that God wants to be worshipped.

What do you think?

Posted by Ted on 08/26/03 8:02 PM | Link

Monday, August 25, 2003

How'd you like to help our troops in Iraq?

Frankie Mayo is sending 110 volt air conditioners to our troops in Iraq. Her son is serving in Iraq and told her how hot it was. She sent him an air conditioner and soon it snowballed. She is also sending medical supplies and in October will start sending heaters. This just goes to show what one person can do, if they just decide to do it.

More about what churches are good for. If one of the goals is to convert pagans to Christianity, what does a church do with those that have been converted? Someone said that one of the functions of church is fellowship. I take that to mean that one of the goals for a church is to be a social club for Christians.

I think that another function of a church could be to train the converted to evangelize the unconverted. The only ones I know that seem to make that part of their training are the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons - both of which I consider cults.

I would also venture that one of the functions of a church is to train the converted in what the bible means and how to interpret it.

So, here are the functions I see for a church:

1) Convert the pagans

2) Be a social club for the converted

3) Train the converted to convert others

4) Train the converted on theology.

What other functions do you see for a church or do you disagree with my analysis? Speak up.

Given these goals for the church, then what should the pastor say during the sermon? That's for a later analysis, but would appreciate your comments.

Posted by Ted on 08/25/03 8:00 PM | Link

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Another Sunday Another Church

Karol and I attended another church this morning. We were guests of two friends that previously attended the same church we did. It was similar to the church we attended last Sunday. It seems all the evangelical churches use the same format. A half hour of singing "praise" music, followed by a 30 to 40 minute sermon, interspersed with two or three prayers.

The sermon was lively with may jokes and audience participation. Still, Karol and I were just not excited about it. Everyone was cordial, but partly because our friends were there to introduce us.

So far, the one we like the best was the first one. The more traditional one.

Our search for a church as set me to thinking. Just what is the purpose of a church? To worship God? You don't need a church for that. To evangelize people? That would make a good purpose.

But what is the purpose of a church to those already converted and what is the job description of a pastor? More on this later.

Posted by Ted on 08/24/03 7:59 PM | Link

Saturday, August 23, 2003

What a Way to Start the Morning

I was making breakfast this morning. I was our usual - my World-Famous Breakfast Drink and tea. I had just finished blending the last peaches, they're in season right now, had just turned off the teapot as it was whistling loudly, when the phone rang.

Karol answered it. She didn't seem to be saying much. I figured it was probably a telemarketer. I was thinking, "Boy, they're starting early these days."

When she hung up, she said it was ADP. The alarm had gone off at the office. I turned off the teapot and put our breakfast drink in the refrigerator. We jumped in the car an drove the ten minutes to the office. No one was there. We went inside and the alarm had been tripped, but there was absolutely no sign of even attempted entry. All the windows were secure and there was not sign of anyone having been in the office.

I had wanted to stop by the office at some point today so I checked the backup to make sure it was running OK. It was. I then grabbed my Outlook 2002 CD, as I needed it at home. About that time a patrolman showed up. We conversed shortly and then he left. We reset the alarm, locked up, and came back home to eat our breakfast.

Later today, I trimmed the hedge again. Although it wasn't growing thickly, some of the shoots were a foot long. I think I need new hedge trimmers. They are running much more slowly than they used to - and I keep the blade well lubricated.

We two doors stripped some time ago. Karol wanted to have them sanded. I took out my sander and turned it on to test it. It's a small palm sized vibratory sander. When I turned it on, it vibrated very slowly. I only left it on a few seconds as I didn't what to put it to the smoke test. I did some disassembly on it, but couldn't see how to repair it. It looks like we'll need to buy a new one. This will be the third sander I've had to buy. I think they just don't last very long. Sanding is pretty rough duty for an appliance - what with the dust and all.

I'm slowly getting my computer back in shape. I just ordered a copy of Norton Firewall from my favorite store - eBay. Symantec wanted $70 for the software, I got it on eBay for $25 - not bad. I'm going to try to keep my internet connection unplugged as much as possible, until I get the firewall up and running. I chose Norton because I also run the Norton Antivirus and System Works software. I figured this way they could all run together as one big happy family.

Tomorrow Karol has another church for us to try. One of my tests will be to see if I walk out feeling like I have been drugged. That was the experience of the last church we tried as well as the church we used to attend. It comes from sitting through a long sermon.

I don't understand why preachers feel they must talk for so long. As a long standing member of Toastmasters, I could tell them, if they can't make their point in 15 minutes, they're certainly not going to do it in 40 minutes. They'll only wind up confusing their audience and likely putting them to sleep. Remember, advertisers who what want to sell you something, confine their message to 30 seconds.

Posted by Ted on 08/23/03 7:57 PM | Link

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Computer is Back

Got my computer back today. Nasty story. The motherboard was gone and the hard drive was shot. Recovered some files but not all of them.

All of my pictures are gone. All of my email has to be recreated. And I've lost a bunch of other stuff. I've reloaded a lot of the programs I use, but it's going to be a while before I get back to where I was before.

Well I got an upgrade in the process. My new station is now 2.4GHz, 80 GB hard drive (like I really need that much space), and now I'm running Windows XP.

My advice to you is, back up, back up, back up.

Posted by Ted on 08/21/03 7:56 PM | Link

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Sick Computer

My home has computer refused to boot. Wow! It's like losing your left arm - I'm right handed. Until it's fixed, these blogs may be sparse.

Karol and I tried another church yesterday. Nice inside with nice seats. Big - It seats about 270. It had a service very much like the one we just left. 20 to 30 minutes of singing followed by 40 to 50 minutes of sermon - interspaced with occasional prayers. It was "Praise" music as opposed to hymns.

Why do church services have to be either or? Why can't there be a mixture - some hymns and some praise music? Are Christians so set in their ways, they can't compromise a little and meet in the middle?

I find the traditional services more varied than the "modern" services. Modern services are a bunch of singing followed by long sermons. I have some suspicions as to why they follow this sequence.

1) It's a lot less work to put a service together.

2) Modern services use a band instead of an organ. The church yesterday had a band that consisted of three musicians and four vocalists. On of the musicians was also a vocalist. That makes for six people. When you have that many people in the band, the logistics prevent interspersing the service with songs here and there. The logistics almost compel the director to put all the music on one place on the program.

Posted by Ted on 08/17/03 7:54 PM | Link

Saturday, August 16, 2003

The Farewell Tour

The JOY club from our now former church held a picnic today. Karol and I head up this little group - or at least we did until two weeks ago. JOY club stands for "Just Older Youth." It is a group for anyone over 50. Since this picnic had been in the planning stages for several weeks, Karol and I decided to still hold it so as to not disappoint people.

It was a small turnout - a little over a dozen people. I think that few actually realized they would not likely see us again - in church. We did not say anything as there was nothing left to say. The sweet wonderful lady that hosted the group, did express sadness at our leaving.

The weather was about 85 degrees and very humid, but it was cloudy. She has a pool and several people enjoyed the water. I'm not a pool person. I just don't like the feeling of sitting around afterward in wet clothes. After we ate, it rained lightly. But she had what is sort of like an enclosed porch next to the pool, so the rain was not bother. The group broke up at about 1500. Karol and I cleaned up with the help of some others and went home. I always eat too much at these sort of things.

I think Karol was sad, when we left. When you leave a church, you leave behind many friends. I am truly sorry for that. But perhaps this is God's getting us to go somewhere else where we might be better used. Besides, I'm pretty sure we will make new friends where ever we wind up. And we can still go out to dinner with people from our now old church. It just won't be with any church involvement.

Posted by Ted on 08/16/03 7:52 PM | Link

Friday, August 15, 2003

What do you do when the lights go out?

Aside from the obvious activity between a male and a female, what else can you do? I heard on the radio tonight, that Friday night was great night for amateur astronomers. Think of it. No lights. Just a totally dark sky to aim your telescope towards. Now you can see stars and planets that would normally be obscured by the city lights. The amateur astronomers had a great time.

Saw a company on TV that modifies Porches and then tests them out on the German Autobahn. After they get done, the engine now puts out over 500 hp. It is redlined at 7200 rpm. At that setting the car will do 212 mph. In the video I saw, they had the camera pointed at the digital speedometer. They took it right to 212 mph. Incredible!

I have purchased a program/service called GoToMyPc. I have loaded it on my station in my office. With this loaded, I can now access my PC from anywhere in the world. All I need is access to the net. I can even use a Mac (perish the thought) and still get to my PC. It is very cool technology.

I have a client that I needed this for. I installed it on his station and Pow! I could access his computer, just like I was sitting at his desk. This was through his fancy firewall and everything. With 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard and nested passwords, it is VERY secure. I’m still learning more about it, but the more I learn the more impressed I get with it.

Posted by Ted on 08/15/03 7:50 PM | Link

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Glad I’m not in NY

Boy am I glad I don’t commute to or from New York City. I’ll bet a lot of people will stay home from work tomorrow. It makes me think that one should always carry some kind of emergency kit, just in case something like this should happen.

Finished Boothman’s book (“How to Make People Like You in 90-Seconds”) tonight. Now I need to go back through it and really put his ideas to work. That means creating a little self-improvement program.

I’m thinking I’ll join this networking group. I don’t know if it’ll generate some new business or not. I could really use some about now. But the cost is less that advertising in the Yellow Pages and I’ll likely be worth more. It will also force me to really think about how I would describe my ideal customer and how I would describe what I do to someone else.

Although the local group is only about a dozen people, once I join I can visit all the other groups in my area. They are several within an hour’s drive

There is one thing I'm hoping it will do for me. One of my frustrations has been that I don't get a chance to associate with other business people. Many of our friends are retired. That's not good. Never hang around retired people, it'll make you lazy. I believe I need to associate more with people that are make successes of themselves.

I keep thinking, how can I make myself more famous – without being ridiculous about it. A salesperson wants his name and what he sells known by everyone. I’m such a natural warm likeable guy, why doesn’t everyone know and want me?

Got a good idea? Well don’t just keep it to yourself, let me in on it too.

Posted by Ted on 08/14/03 7:49 PM | Link

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Networking 101

I went to the networking group this morning. It was about a dozen small business people meeting together to give each other leads.

The group was heavily female. Out of 14 people, only four, including me, were male. Too much estrogen in the room.

The people I can remember are a massage therapist, someone that does brochures and newsletters, a landscaper (I think), a mortgage broker, someone that does commercial trash, someone that does gift baskets to businesses, someone that does something about recording music, a real estate person, and a Herbalife person. There were other professions there, but I can’t remember them.

One of the ladies gave a talk on networking through this organization. I was greatly impressed with her talk. It was very well done. She struck me as a very savvy businessperson.

I think I may join. It cost $325 for a year and $250 to renew next year. A single yellow pages ad cost more and probably delivers less. I’ve rarely gotten anything out of the yellow pages. In addition, just one good sale would cover 10-years worth of dues.

They meet once a week from 0730 to 0900. Although it’s an hour and a half of my time, the diner, where they meet, is about one mile from my house. It doesn’t get any more convenient. I just don’t know if the people they might refer to me would fit. My clientele are companies with at least two people using the accounting system and usually seven to 25 users.

Still, as a member, I can visit other chapters and that may prove useful.

Posted by Ted on 08/13/03 7:46 PM | Link

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Marketing Ruminations

I'm still reading Boothman's book, "How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less." OK, so I'm a slow reader. Part way through his book he discusses how people communicate primarily through one of three ways - Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic. The trick in marketing is to be able to communicate with all three types of people.

That got me to thinking. I'm always looking for a way to put together my 30-second commercial. A 30-second commercial is what you have mentally prepared so when someone asks you what you do, you give him or her the 30-second commercial. You know you've got a winning 30-second commercial, when they respond, "Gee, how do you do that?"

I've yet to develop a good one. After reading Boothman's comments on the three types of people, I wrote down the following: We supply business software, that when you see what it does, get the feeling of how it merges with your business, you'll hear yourself saying, "I know it was expensive, and it was a lot of hard work, but I'm glad we made the move. It was a very good investment."

This is an obvious attempt to phrase it in such a way; the visuals, auditories, and kinesthetics will all feel like I'm talking to them.

I tried this out on the people in my office and got a very limp response. So, here's my current version: We supply Microsoft business accounting software that when people see what the results, they get the feeling of how it molds to their business, I hear them say, "You know this was expensive and it was a lot of hard work. But I'm glad we did it. It was a VERY good investment."

That seemed to get a mildly stronger reaction. I'm meeting tomorrow morning for the first time with a business-networking group to see if it will help promote my business. I'll test it out on them.

If you've got, what you feel, is a better one, please don't just keep it to yourself! I need some help here.

Posted by Ted on 08/12/03 7:45 PM | Link

Monday, August 11, 2003

Iraqi Worries

Iraq is worrying me again. Attacks continue on our GI’s. If can get Saddam, I believe it will help, but it won’t be the end of the attacks.

Clearly the strategy of the combatants is to create enough casualties that the American public will tire of the situation and retreat home. Then the thugs will again take over Iraq and we will be back where we started. Only now we will be several billion dollars poorer and suffer a couple hundred dead GI’s.

Given the enemy’s determination, can Iraq ever become a democracy? Will the combatants continue their struggle even after the US has left? Will it dissolve into another Somalia?

People as asked me which is better Saddam dead or alive. I say, he is better dead. Should we take him alive and attempt to put him on trial, some French lawyer will defend him. The trial would turn into a circus and he might even get off.

Posted by Ted on 08/11/03 7:42 PM | Link

Sunday, August 10, 2003

New Church

Karol and I attended a new, to us, church this morning. It is probably less than a mile from our house. First Impressions.

It's very small. I did a quick check and it looks like it would seat about 130 people. Last week's attendance was 71. The acoustics were adequate. Very comfortable seats.

The demographics were troubling. I would guess that over half the people were over 50 and at least one third were probably over 60. One individual told us he turned 90 last December. I would not have guessed he was over 70.

We received a very warm friendly reception - as one would hope to get from all churches. The pastor, which I understand is new to this church, spoke about how to grow the church. He seemed reasonable. I could tell by his use of notes, he had pretty much written out his sermon. That shows good preparation. I did not find his use of notes distracting.

If I were to change the pastor, I would have him lose the mustache, and put him in a robe instead of a business suit. I just like to see the pastor in a robe, when he conducts the service.

The service was a little more liturgical than at our previous church – and I rather like that. At our previous church, they sing for 20 minutes. There is a very long prayer, then any special events, and then the very long sermon. It is pretty predictable.

At this service there were three or four hymns spread throughout the service. During his sermon the pastor talked about some of the things the church needs to do to grow. One was to put more joy in the worship service.

One of the hymns was “Onward Christian Soldiers.” If I were the pastor, I would have had everyone march around the room, while they sang the song. To change people’s emotions, you need to change their body position or movement.

All in all, it was a nice service. I think Karol has another church lined up next week.

Posted by Ted on 08/10/03 7:40 PM | Link

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Air Conditioner Work

Last night Karol discovered that the window air conditioner on the front porch was full of water. This morning we took it out, and found the whole window sill was full of water. We drained the water and I drilled three small holes at the base of the aluminum storm. I also drilled two holes in the base of the air conditioner. It's a GE air conditioner and they put no drainage holes for condensation or rain water to leave. What a stupid design.

We reassembled everything and checked on it a few hour later. I could see water dripping from it into the soil outside the house. Much better.

Posted by Ted on 08/09/03 7:39 PM | Link

Happenings at the Jersey Shore

Went to Ocean City tonight. We went to a small boardwalk cafe. It was very busy and we had to wait. While waiting, we discovered two people and their child sitting there that we knew. At least we knew the man. He used to be a member of the same Toastmasters Club as I. So we ate dinner together. It was very enjoyable.

Later, as we were darting in and out of various boardwalk stores, we went into a discount bookstore to browse. Just inside the entrance was a man at a table with books on it. It looked like a book signing. I asked if he was the author and he said yes. We spent the next 10 minutes interviewing him. This was his first novel and he pretty much published it on his own. He wrote the book in only two years. He wrote it part time while keeping up his full-time job. The name of the book is "Rogue" and his name is Wes Swain. His novel is about a dolphin trained for military work.

Karol bought one of his books and he signed it for her.

Posted by Ted on 08/09/03 7:37 PM | Link

Friday, August 8, 2003

Good News from Iraq

A Seabee on duty in Iraq writes about what he sees going on. Things are a lot better that you what hear on TV.

Cut the grass tonight. Then afterward took my rechargeable weed whacker and buzzed around the yard. I scared up a Praying Mantis who climbed up out of the flower bed on to the side of the house to see what I was doing. They are really neat bugs. Although not endangered, they are a bit of a novelty. I usually only see one or two each summer. This guy (or girl) was about two inches long. They have an articulated head and as you move around you can see their head moving to track you like a radar unit.

Reading a little more in Boothman's book. It reminds me a lot of a Tony Robbins book, except it's a lot more compact. Boothman covers in 170 small pages, what Tony would cover in 250 large fine print pages. I like brevity.

Posted by Ted on 08/08/03 7:24 PM | Link

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Back to the everyday living

I am going to put this brouhaha with the church behind me. Time to go back to the day-to-day problems. Like trying to make a living.

Business is slow. Do you need new accounting software? Come on down! Have we got a deal for you.

The market has not been nice to me these last two weeks. I never ceased to be surprised at how fast one's profits can evaporate. I need to pay closer attention to it than I do.

I got a call from a broker this morning. Boy, they are relentless. Business must be bad, if they're calling me.

In Iraq there are some very funny things going on. It seems the Iraqi's are quick to imagine all kind of things. Here's an article about just how crazy they are.

Bought another book by Nicholas Boothman. This one is "How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less." I'm finding that one can save a lot of money by buying used books on I've purchased a couple of used books at substantial savings and both have be in brand new condition.

Well, I'm going to go through my nightly stock scans and see if I can find any potential winners and then do some more reading in my "new" book.

Posted by Ted on 08/07/03 7:22 PM | Link

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Invitations from everywhere

Since people know we are now church shopping, we're getting invitations from everyone to visit their church. I think Karol has three different churches lined up for the next three weeks already.

I've been asked what I have against this pastor candidate. Here's my short list.

1) Aside from his very high volume oratory, his speaking style is accusatory and belittling to his audience - to the point of arrogance. I wouldn't be so bad if he included himself as one of the sinners. But it as if he is sitting at the right hand of God and telling the congregation just how bad they are and all the problems in the church are completely their fault. He makes you want to walk up to the stage and wring his neck or punch him in the nose.

2) About two years ago, I was at a church family meeting with one of the previous pastors and our "Bishop." This fellow stood up and asked a question, that at the moment seemed sort of out of the blue. But, then as the Bishop answered, I could the see the motivation behind the question was to denigrate a pastor that had left 12 months before this meeting. I thought that was a really low blow.

3) He was ONLY approved by the board AFTER, his wife became a board member. That coupled with point #2, make me wonder if he didn't manipulate the civil war between the two pastors in the hopes that he would fill one of the slots. In short, I do not trust the man.

4) Did you ever meet someone that for some reason you just couldn't trust. I can't put my finger on it, but somehow the words that come out of his mouth just don't match his body language. It makes me feel like he is faking it.

5) I don't feel he'll bring in new people. A non-Christian or low participation Christian that attends the church and he preaches will not return. I know people that have sat through his harangue once, never to return.

OK, so it isn't such a short list and I'm not really done. Still I think you get my point.

Posted by Ted on 08/06/03 7:21 PM | Link

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

It was the right thing to do

Leaving this church was the right thing to do. Certainly we will miss friends we made there. But, already it is like a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders. I can see the rise in Karol's spirits already. I can even concentrate better at work. I expect we will be the only ones to leave. Friends that are also unhappy with the board's decision are likely to stay. I think they've been there too long to leave. There is a strong social bond that keeps people there.

But, I remind myself, a church is not meant to be a social club.

Already Karol has two other churches lined up to visit over the next two weeks. It is amazing how much pain we will put up with because we've grown used to it.

Posted by Ted on 08/05/03 7:20 PM | Link

Monday, August 4, 2003

It's Over

My attempt to bring of the conflict of issue up to the "Bishop" has failed. He responded to my query. According to him, it was all done by the book.

With that Karol has given up. She has just gone through too much and wants it over. I was preparing to make, what I hoped would be a valiant plea for the church to not go down this road. I was preparing my speech and felt it would be a good test of my Toastmasters skills.

But, what is the point?

I feels so bad to enter the church, that I don't see how we could stay. Even should I prevail, there is now such a negative feeling associated with this church, we could not go back. In short, my only purpose in speaking against this individual would be one of self-aggrandizement. That would an very unseemly thing to do.

Going to church should be a joyful occasion, not one of bereavement.

I have emailed all our friends that have email addresses at the church to tell them of our decision. This was not done to make any point. It's just that when previous people left the church, they just disappeared and know one seemed to know where they went.

I resolved not to go quietly into the night. So I have emailed as many people as possible as to our decision and why. I also told our "Bishop." I also told everyone, this was NOT confidential information and they could share it or it's message with anyone they chose.

I am very sad to leave. But I am also angry. I am angry that Karol had to go through all this misery. She does not deserve that kind of treatment from a church.

Sad as we are to leave, we must remind ourselves that a church is not meant to be a social club.

I'm a little tired tonight. I'll have more to say in the future. This situation as really aggravated me and I still got a lot of things I want to say.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Ted on 08/04/03 7:18 PM | Link

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Tough day in church

It was tough sitting through church this morning. They made the official announcement about the new pastor. At the announcement there was enthusiastic applause. I felt my heart race and I felt nausea. It's as if a close friend was dying. I think Karol was in tears.

Since this individual's wife serves on the board that helped nominate him, it struck me as an obvious conflict of interest. Especially since he had been rejected by the previous board. I sent an email off to, what in our church is the equivalent of a Bishop. I told him of the conflict of interest issue and asked if that was "Kosher." I'll see if he returns my correspondence.

Our "Bishop" is a nice enough guy, but I have seen him do some bone-headed things. One of which he had to later retract his position. It may well be there IS a conflict of interest here and he is unaware of it.

The evening of August 10th is when the vote takes place. I am preparing a very short speech to see if I can influence enough people to reject the nomination.

I like to say that I cannot control events, but I can influence them. This will be a supreme test of my persuasion powers - such as they are. I'm going into this expecting to loose and therefore I'm going to pull out all the stops. We'll see just how good my Toastmaster skills are.

A recent email from a friend close to the situation said, the previous pastor (the one that left in December) had told him, this individual would never be allowed to be a pastor for some of the following reasons: Lack of education, lack of experience, and his temperament.

Posted by Ted on 08/03/03 9:49 PM | Link

Saturday, August 2, 2003

More thoughts on our church’s path

As I think back about how all this came about, I feel it looks like a ball of twin becoming unwound.

About two years ago, when our church had two pastors, they suddenly took a dislike to each other. Never mind the fact that they had been in the same church for more than 10 years and had known each other before that. They were, supposedly, close friends.

The stated point of disagreement was worship style. Now, the style of worship in our church had been unchanged for several years. One pastor, the older one, preferred the more traditional worship music. The younger one, the one responsible for putting the musical program together each week, preferred and used the modern “praise” music.

When the fracas began, the younger one, fearing he might soon be out of a job, started surreptitiously circulating his resume. That activity did not stay secret very long. When it became public knowledge, he was fired. There were many in the church that liked the younger pastor.

The result was, more than one third of the congregation left the church. These people approached the just-fired pastor and asked him to form a church. He agreed. After all, he had recently purchased a house and had three children and a wife to support.

There was enmity between the two churches. Members of our church that attended services at the new church were severely admonished and told they had to make a choice of which church they wanted.

Doesn’t this all sound like the actions of good Christians?

Karol and I both considered finding a new church. But I figured most churches probably suffer from the same sort of problems. That's because all are staffed by sinful people.

The remaining pastor struggled on for another 18 months. But I don’t think his heart was in it any more. As I think back upon his sermons, what I remember most is his frequent castigating the congregation on their treatment of him and his family. Maybe he was treated poorly. I don’t know. I as never witness to any of it. I did hear frequent criticism, but I took that to be a response to his beating up the congregation. When you tell someone how bad they are, don’t be surprised if you don’t get a favorable response.

At last the pastor threw in the towel. He was offered a teaching position. He said that God had called him to this new position. Maybe so. I’m always a little suspicious of people who claim God talks to them. The bible does not take such claims lightly.

Since last Christmas another pastor, a woman, has been preaching from the stage. Although I complain that her sermons are too long, I cannot fault her hard work and enthusiasm. She has been a rock. No matter, what happens, I never see her get down. She is always upbeat and brimming with energy. I always felt she is so energetic, that if the church ever had a power failure, we could just plug her into the grid and her energy would light all of Vineland.
Although she has been doing well as acting senior pastor, I always felt she was more like a caretaker pastor, until we got a permanent one. The church board was supposedly been looking for a new pastor, but the board changed in April, I think. I have a very low opinion of committees and didn’t really expect to see any decision to come on a new pastor until the end of the year.

Now the board has selected this particular individual. I recently was told; the first board rejected him. But when the board changed in April, he resubmitted his application. Two other things changed. The board went from 12 members (nine elected and three appointed) to nine members (all elected). In addition, one of the members was this applicant’s wife.

This fellow has preached before in our church. When the two pastors were going through their divorce, he preached for several weeks.

It was brutal. Forty minutes of being yelled at. I don’t know why he uses the mike. Most of the sermon is to castigate the audience. I doubt her ever read Dale Carnegie.

When I review all the history, it seems as if the church as been on a suicidal path for over two years. I don’t know why I should care so much. After all, no one forces us to go to this church.

It is a sad sad situation.

Posted by Ted on 08/02/03 9:47 PM | Link

Friday, August 1, 2003

The Pastoral situation at Our church continues

I continue to mull over the situation in our church. The board of directors (nine people) has chosen this individual. It takes a 2/3's vote of the board to recommend him to the full church. It then takes a 2/3's vote of the present membership in good standing to bring him on board.

It looks like Karol and I will be leaving the church regardless of the outcome. The discussion and vote will occur Sunday evening of August 10th. Whichever way it goes, I don't see how we can stay.

I feel it is my responsibility to speak up against this insane decision. Sometimes life offers us the choice to make a bold move, I cannot turn away from this. I feel like I'm Gary Cooper in the movie "High Noon." Except I don't have the faint hearted wife that Gary Cooper did.

The problem is, once I have stated my position, with all the persuasion I can muster, the well will be poisoned. If my view prevails, I will have made enemies and it will not be fun to remain in the church. If I lose, then there is no alternative.

We have been there a few years and will miss the friends we have made. However, I don't think Jesus would say that a church is meant to be a social club.

Our previous pastor, to paraphrase one of his sermons, told the congregation that if they were unhappy at his church there are 77 other churches in the area.

That means we could visit a different church each week and not repeat any church for a year and a half.

Boy, this is upsetting.

On the bright side, this will give me enough material to blog for a month. Stay tuned.

Posted by Ted on 08/01/03 9:42 PM | Link