I am taking Spanish classes and realizing how little I remember from the three years of Spanish from many years ago in high school. I still recognize some words and a few phrases when I see them written of if they are spoken slowly. I have a pretty good grasp of the alphabet and numbers and I recall a little about the conjugation of verbs.

After ten lessons last spring and three during this session I am embarrassed that I do not know more. Of course, studying and practicing between classes would probably make a big difference.

In spite of my limited understanding of the language, I am sure that I have learned two expressions that will stay with me. I suspect that I will remember them for a long time because I will have the opportunity to use them frequently.

I am certain that these two expressions will not be forgotten because they are words that I have had many, many occasions to utter in English. Now that I know them in Spanish it will give me an opportunity to practice at least a little bit of this second language.

The two phrases are “mi culpa” which means “my fault” and “lo siento” which means “I am sorry.” Two good expressions to remember in any language.

Many conflicts could be resolved if someone would just say, “My fault.” It is alright to accept responsibility for mistakes when we make them. There is no disgrace in doing so. As a matter of a fact, there is dignity and integrity in acknowledging your errors of speech, action, or inaction.

An honest “Lo siento” can smooth ruffled feathers when someone is upset or offended.
“I’m sorry” not only can defuse a tense situation but it also makes the confessor feel better.

Everyone makes mistakes. Acknowledging them is healthy and helpful. And necessary in healthy human relationships.

Some of our mistakes don’t really amount to very much. But some have serious implications either for ourselves or for others. Regardless of who is impacted negatively by our errors of judgment, admitting that it is mi culpa enables us to move on. More than likely we will also be more aware of that negative behavior and less likely to repeat it- if we admit “it is my fault.”

I don’t always think before I speak and I say something that offends or injures another. I engage my mouth before my mind is in gear. And the damage is done. But there is a better chance that the damage can be repaired if I quickly recognize my mistake and express my regret. “Lo siento” can at least start the healing.

The phrase, “To err is human, to forgive is divine” is credited to the English poet Alexander Pope. That expression is in his poem An Essay on Criticism, Part II, written in 1711. Pope explains that, while anyone can make a mistake, we should aspire to do as God does, that is, show mercy and forgive the person.
Because we are human we can expect to err but we can minimize the damage by acknowledging our mistake and expressing regret. And we are never more like God than when we forgive.
Jamie Jenkins

A very wise man long ago said there is nothing new under the sun. I guess that is true in the ultimate sense. Everything is built on something that has preceded it. Every idea is an expansion or enhancement of an idea someone has already put forward. Everything future has a part of the past.

The “new” phenomenon of the electric automobile is no exception.

Who built the first electric vehicle (EV)? Well, that depends on who you ask. In 1828, Anyos Jedlik, a Hungarian created a small model car powered by his new motor. In 1834 a blacksmith from Vermont, Thomas Davenport, built a contraption which operated on a short circular electrified track. In 1835, Professor Sibrandus Stratingh of the Netherlands and his assistant Christopher Becker created a small-scale electrical car. English inventor Thomas Parker built the first practical production electric car in London in 1884.

During the 1950s and 1960s the American Big Three automakers had their own electric cars but for various reasons they faded away. Then the 21st century arrived and things changed.

The Tesla Roadster was the first production automobile to use a lithium-ion battery and the first production electric vehicle (EV) with a range greater than 200 miles per charge. Tesla is an expensive, high-end product targeted at affluent buyers. 12,700 of the Model S were sold through June 2013.

Other EVs that target buyers with more average incomes include the Chevrolet Spark, Honda Fit, Ford Focus, and Nissan Leaf with the Leaf being the most popular. The 100,000th Leaf was delivered to a student in Atlanta early in July 2013. As of August 2014 Nissan had sold more than 176,000 EVs more than all other major automakers of pure electric vehicles combined. The Leaf accounted for 130,000 of those Nissan vehicles.

Last Saturday I joined the EV family when I signed a two year lease on a Nissan Leaf SV model.

Plugging the car in rather than pulling up to the gas pump seems a bit strange but I think I will like the $4000 I will save by not buying gasoline during the next two years. The generous tax incentives that the state and federal governments give are much appreciated. Planning my in-town driving to stay within the 84 mile limit of the charge will take a little doing but I will learn.

The front wheels of the Leaf are directly powered by the electric battery and the absence of the drive train makes for a very smooth ride. Since there is no engine there will be no oil changes. The spaciousness of the interior, the navigation system, rear view camera, heated seats and steering wheel, and premium sound system enhance the experience. And it has plenty of “get up” when you need to merge into traffic on the expressway.

It has been said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but as I approach my 71st birthday I want to prove that old saying to be wrong. I am sure there are some “down sides” that I will discover along the way but every adventure has them. I plan to endure the bumps and enjoy the ride.

Jamie Jenkins

Yo-Yo Ma is one of the most famous musicians in the world. He was born in Paris in 1955. His father was “more or less Buddhist” and his mother was Protestant. He grew up as an Episcopalian.

At a young age Ma began studying violin, and later viola, before settling on the cello in 1960 at age four. His first choice was the double bass but due to its large size (eight or nine feet), he compromised and took up cello instead.

The child prodigy began performing before audiences at age five and performed for Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy when he was seven. He has played as a soloist with many major orchestras. His 75 albums have received fifteen Grammy Awards. In addition to his numerous Grammys, Yo-Yo Ma has received the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the 2014 Fred Rogers Legacy Award, of which he said, “This is perhaps the greatest honor I’ve ever received.”

Ma’s primary performance instrument is a Montagnana cello built in 1733. The cello was nicknamed by a female student who approached him after one of his classes in Salt Lake City asking if he had a nickname for his cello. He said, “No, but if I play for you, will you name it?” She chose “Petunia,” and it stuck. This cello, more than 280 years old and valued at $2.5 million, was lost in the fall of 1999 when Ma accidentally left the instrument in a taxicab in New York City. It was later recovered undamaged.

In a recent interview the world famous musician said that when he was about five years old he was asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” He replied, “I want to understand.”

I suspect that at age five most children want to understand things like:
Why does he get two cookies and I get only one?
Why do I have to go to bed before she does?
Why can’t I cross the street by myself?

From listening to Ma and from observing his musical career, it obvious that the desire to understand has not gone away but it has matured as he has aged and experienced life more fully.

On this date, September 11, I find it impossible not to think about that horrible day in 2001 when 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and firefighters.

Reflecting on the horrendous events of 9/11 I echo Yo-Yo Ma’s desire to understand. I want to understand the mind set that could lead to that tragedy… and others that are occurring today around the world and close at home.

I want to understand how anyone could think that violence solves anything. Whether it be in Iraq or Gaza or Ferguson, Missouri, or a casino elevator in Atlantic City. I want to understand more fully how love overcomes hate and light overcomes darkness. I want to understand so I can be an agent of peace in my home, my work, and my world.

Jamie Jenkins

A long time ago someone told me that the smartest people in the world were the ones who remembered everything they could from every source they could and then forgot where they got it. That was one way of saying that the sources of knowledge are many and a wise person will recognize and value the insights from various perspectives.

I don’t consider myself to be unusually smart or wise but I do welcome input from others whether they are well known or ordinary everyday folks. I gladly receive what others offer and gratefully pass on things that I think are helpful and/or humorous.

So today I am passing on something that a friend sent me. It is a series of quotes from Andy Rooney who spent 60 years with CBS television before his death in 2011 at the age of 92. For 30 years he was behind the camera as writer and producer. The last 30 years he was “the inquisitive and cranky” commentator who closed the “60 Minutes” news programs with his essays.

Andy Rooney says I have learned that…

• the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
• when you’re in love, it shows.
• just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.
• having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
• being kind is more important than being right.
• you should never say no to a gift from a child.
• I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.
• no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
• sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
• simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child, did wonders for me as an adult.
• life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
• we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.
• money doesn’t buy class.
• it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
• under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
• to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
• when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
• love, not time, heals all wounds.
• the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
• everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
• no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
• life is tough, but I’m tougher.
• opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
• when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
• one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow you may have to eat them.
• a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
• when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you’re hooked for life.
• everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
• the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Thanks, Andy, for sharing some of the things you learned.

Jamie Jenkins

A trip to Alaska has been on my bucket list for a long time. I have finally done it. It was worth the wait.

Breathtaking is not an adequate word to describe the scenery. At one point a fellow traveler said, “God really got it right,” as he stared at the awesome panorama.

Mt. McKinley (native name, Denali) is the highest peak in North America at 20,237 feet.

It was a clear morning as we drove north from Anchorage and we were able to see the mountain from the base to the peak. It was amazingly beautiful. Our guide told us that weather conditions allow only 30% of people who visit Alaska to get even a glimpse of this majestic peak.

A visit to the Mendenhall Glacier just a few miles outside Juneau was an incredible experience. We also got a close up view of the Hubbard Glacier. It is 76 miles long, 7 miles wide, and 600 feet tall at its terminal face. 350 feet is exposed above the waterline. As we viewed this magnificent site you could hear repeated “thunder” as parts of the glacier broke off (calved) and fell into the water of the Russell Fjord.

We got a little taste of Alaska’s state sport as we took a sled ride pulled by a team of Alaskan Huskies at one of the dog sledding summer training camps near Skagway. Our musher, Wade Mars, finished 16th in the 1100 mile Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race this past spring. After the ride he took time to introduce us to each of his 16 dog team and told us about the personality and strengths of each dog.

It is hard to describe the rugged beauty of the 6 million acre Denali National Park. Its landscape is a mix of forest at the lowest elevations. It also is home to tundra at middle elevations, and glaciers, rock, snow at the highest elevations, and wide variety of wildlife. Add in the quaint town of Talkeetna, the ski resort of Alyeska,  and the glass domed train ride back to Anchorage for an unforgettable experience. But to say I have been to Alaska is like saying I have been to the Atlantic Ocean. You can see and touch only tiny fraction of its vastness and beauty.

In addition to enjoying the scenery I learned a lot about the 49th state. Anchorage is the largest city with just under 300,000 people. Fairbanks and Juneau are about the same with a population of slightly more than 30,000 each. And something interesting about the state capitol- you cannot drive to Juneau. There are no roads into the city. It is accessible only by air and water. Or by foot I guess if you could make it over the rugged mountains and ice field.

One interesting story was about the state flag. In 1927 a contest was conducted for children in grades seven through twelve to design a flag for the territory. Benny Benson, a 13 year-old boy won the competition. With his entry he submitted this description of his simple design: “The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaskan flower. The North Star is for the future state of Alaska, the most northerly in the union. The Dipper  is for the Great Bear—symbolizing strength.” The flag was later adopted as the State Flag.

Alaska is big- more than 1/5 the size of the “lower 48.” You could fit Georgia into Alaska  11 times. It is 4 times larger than California and twice as big as Texas. More than 50% of  the coastline of the United States is in Alaska. Although its land mass is huge the state is very sparsely populated. Georgia has 148 times more people per square mile. If Georgia’s   population density were the same as Alaska’s, only 58,752 people would live in Georgia rather than the approximately 10 million current residents. Put another way- if Manhattan had the same population density as Alaska, there would be only 14 people in Manhattan.

Alaska really does have the feel of the last frontier. Rugged terrain, vast distances between cities and towns, limited connections between communities, cold and long winters. It is a great place to visit but I don’t want to live there.

As the plane touched down at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, in my head I could hear Ray Charles singing: “Other arms reach out to me. Other eyes smile tenderly. Still in peaceful dreams I see the roads lead back to you, Georgia!”

Jamie Jenkins

 

He made so many people laugh and now millions cry for him. The news of Robin Williams’ death on August 11 made me very sad. Here was a man who “had everything to live for” but took his own life. This tragedy is another reminder that life can be hard even when it seems that a person has everything going for them. It also reminds us that we can never know the depth of any person’s struggles.

Robin Williams burst into the public eye on the Mork and Mindy television series in 1978. His character Mork, an extraterrestrial alien from the planet Ork, quickly became a favorite of millions. In 1997, the episode “Mork’s Mixed Emotions” was viewed by 61 million people and is ranked 94 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.

This manic comic brought much joy and laughter to millions of people with the multitude of voices and characters that he could call forth at the drop of a hat. In an article for Time Magazine Dick Cavett recalls an occasion years ago when Williams came off stage at a small club with the audience cheering wildly. This wacky comedian said to Cavett, “Isn’t it funny how I can bring great happiness to all these people, but not to myself.”

Robin Williams was more than an extraordinary comedian. He was also a talented serious actor. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Good Will Hunting. He received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards.

It is no secret that this much beloved and talented comedian/actor struggled with substance abuse, anxiety and depression. He openly talked about his struggles and often incorporated them into his comic routines. And it was revealed after his death that he had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Former child actor Mara Wilson who played William’s daughter in the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, remembers him as “warm, gentle, expressive, nurturing, and brilliant.”

The circumstances of his death help us to realize that depression is what the late award-winning writer William Styron in an essay for Newsweek (April 18, 1994) called “an interior pain that is all but indescribable.” He said, “People don’t think rich, famous, funny people can suffer from depression. But they can. I know from experience that sometimes the ones who seem like they have the most going for them can be holding on by the slimmest threads.”

In a Huffington Post blog, sixteen year old Ally Del Monte recently wrote: “Depression doesn’t discriminate. It knows no boundaries. Young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, beautiful, ugly, popular, nerd, loved, lonely- depression doesn’t see a difference and affects all kinds of people.”

It is estimated that 19 million American adults are living with major depression. The National Institute of Mental Health says many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medication, psychotherapy, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.

Depression has been called “the worst agony devised for man” but it is an illness and it can be treated. Unfortunately many people treat depression as something to be ashamed of or a sign of weakness instead of an illness just like cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Any illness, physical or mental, if untreated can do great harm. But with proper diagnosis, medication, and other forms of treatment health can be restored.

If you are depressed, seek treatment. If you know someone who is depressed, encourage them to get help. See a medical doctor, a mental health specialist, or your pastor. There can be life after depression. Don’t settle for anything else.

Jamie Jenkins

Southern Accent Reduction Class? Are you kidding me? People are actually teaching folks how to talk like they are not from the South?

Yep, that’s right. There are some people who see a southern accent as a liability. Can you imagine?

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory was fixin’ to offer classes to help folks lose their Southern accent. They had employed “a nationally certified speech pathologist and accent reduction trainer” to teach people to speak “with a more neutral accent.”

I agree with Sam Massell, former Atlanta mayor and current president of the Buckhead Coalition. He asked, “Why would anyone want to give up the advantage that comes with the warmth and hospitable persona that accompanies a Southern accent?” Why indeed?

After receiving complaints, Oak Ridge cancelled the classes. Boy howdy! I reckon they got the message.

When I moved to New York in the mid-60s people would ask me to repeat words that we southerners drag out. I worked at J. C. Penney’s and customers liked to hear the long “I” when I told them the price of the item was ninety-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents. The company should have paid me extra commission because of the sales that were made because of my “charming” southern accent.

According to Scientific American, “Studies have shown that whether you are from the North or South, a Southern twang pegs the speaker as comparatively dimwitted, but also likely to be a nicer person than folks who speak like a Yankee.” While I resent being considered “dimwitted” because of my accent (or for any reason), I am happy to be thought of as a “nicer person.”

According to a press release, Cupid.com surveyed 2,000 men and women and determined that 36.5 percent of respondents voted the Southern accent the most attractive. That was far more than any other regional accent. The survey by the dating site also concluded that the Southern accent is the country’s sexiest. At my age “sexiest” doesn’t carry much weight but I am glad to know that people consider the southern accent “attractive.”

The Apostle Paul said “there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal.” He was writing to the Christian community but I imagine he would agree that one’s religion, ethnicity, culture, or language should not diminish the value of any individual.

In the New Testament Peter, James, and Paul- all leaders of the Early Church- expressed the same opinion about God’s attitude toward people. Each of them stated clearly that God shows no favoritism (Acts 10:34, James 2:1, Romans 2:11).

We are all special creations of God, “formed in God’s own image,” reflecting God’s own nature. We may have different skin pigment. Our traditions and customs may vary. The languages we speak and our accents are many. But I suspect that those factors endear us to God.

I think those different qualities, and many more, are priceless. Just as many colors are needed to form a rainbow, our dress, the foods we eat, our mannerisms, and our accents are treasures that should be retained and not destroyed.

That’s my opinion. Do y’all agree?

Jamie Jenkins

If you grew up in the South chances are you know about “campmeeting.” If you know about it, you probably also know that it is pronounced with a silent “g.” Campmeetin’ has been for many years a tradition in the primarily rural sections of the southern United States.

Campmeetings began as a type of outdoor revival meeting on the American frontier In the 19th century. Various Protestant denominations sponsored these events and people came prepared to camp out. Farmers had a bit of a break after their crops were “laid by” and fall harvesting had not yet begun. The campmeetings provided as much for the social life of attendees as it did for their spiritual well being.

Encyclopedia Britannica describes the scene. “Families pitched their tents around a forest clearing where log benches and a rude preaching platform constituted an outdoor church that remained in almost constant session for three or four days. As many as 10,000 to 20,000 people were reported at some meetings. People came partly out of curiosity, partly out of a desire for social contact and festivity, but primarily out of their yearning for religious worship.”

Historians have generally credited James McGready (c. 1760–1817), a Presbyterian, with inaugurating the first typical camp meetings in 1799–1801 in Logan County, Kentucky. Activities included preaching, prayer meetings, hymn singing, weddings, and baptisms.

By 1820, there were almost one thousand camps in America. Although their popularity has diminished with urbanization, this tradition lives on in many places and is a very important part of the spiritual and social lives of some people.

Permanent buildings, most with electricity, air conditioning, and running water have replaced the tents from the early years of campmeetings. These new “tents,” as they still call them, are owned by families and often have been passed from one generation to another.

There are a number of campmeetings around North Georgia with a rich history that continue each summer. I am a Methodist and know more about those with Methodist heritage than others. White Oak Campground near Thomson, established in 1820 and Salem Campmeeting near Conyers was founded in 1828 and are among the oldest, thriving campgrounds in the nation. Lumpkin County Campground in Dawsonville celebrated 184 consecutive years of campmeeting last week. Lawrenceville and Shingleroof in McDonough were both established in 1832, Marietta started in 1837, and Holbrook in Alpharetta and Loudsville began in 1838. Shiloh in Carrollton/Bowdon (more precisely in the Burwell Community) held its 147th encampment earlier this summer. Since 1890 the Indian Speings Holiness Campmeeting has met for ten days each year.

When these campmeetings began all of them were in rural communities where a few miles was a great distance. The agricultural economy and modes of transportation limited opportunities for people to travel far. The environment for many of them has changed dramatically. They are now surrounded by houses and traffic but continue to gather for renewal and refreshing for several days each summer.

This week one of this area’s last campmeetings of the season is going on at Mossy Creek in White County. In 1829 gold was discovered in nearby Duke’s Creek and that same year a parcel of land was sold for $44 that eventually became Mossy Creek Campground.

From its beginnings Mossy Creek grew into an annual week long revival in mid-August and the sense of tradition and worship continues. As in the beginning, camp meeting is still a time to leave the stress of daily life and be in a community of God’s people, sharing His love.

I’ll see you at Mossy Creek tonight.

Jamie Jenkins

I live in a safe and peaceful neighborhood. Our house is in a sub-division of 82 houses with only one entrance and two streets. I live near the rear of the sub-division. The houses across the street back up to the Chattahoochee River. So it is not uncommon for deer to stroll through our neighborhood and across our front yard and enjoy the “salad bar” of flowers.

Although our lot is small the trees, shrubs, and ivy covered fence, make the backyard rather private. Neighbors behind and beside us are fairly invisible due to this green border. My wife, a Master Gardener, has devoted many hours (and more than a few dollars) to establishing gravel paths and flower beds with a colorful variety of flowering plants and greenery. Our backyard is a place of beauty and tranquility. I am not always conscious of that but as I was sitting on the patio early one morning I realized how blessed I am.

It had rained a lot the previous few days so everything seemed to be more vibrant than usual. Birds covered the feeders and flitted about chasing one another through the trees. Several chipmunks scurried about eating the seeds that the birds dropped to the ground. A couple of squirrels were persistent in trying to get to the bird feeders. Fortunately (from my perspective) they failed so they settled for joining the chipmunks foraging on the ground. The only sound was the occasional flutter of wings and the melodious songs of the birds.

The beauty of my surroundings was overwhelming. The gift that God and my wife had provided me was incredible. I am so richly blessed and I was reminded of something I hear often and it sometimes seems trite, but not this particular morning. We are blessed to be a blessing.

As I pondered the grace of God that allows me to live in such a serene setting I became aware of another reality. The birds, chipmunks and squirrels kept a close eye on me and if I made even the slightest move or made any sound the little creatures rushed away. They were fearful because they thought I posed a danger to them. I wanted to tell them, “I am not going to hurt you,” but there was no way to communicate with them.

I wondered how many people live in an environment more like the little creatures of my backyard rather than like the man who sat on the patio. While I enjoyed beauty and peacefulness, how many others are constantly on guard to avoid harm and destruction? Earlier that morning I had read the latest news about the plane shot down in Ukraine, the violence in Israel and Gaza, the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped three months ago by terrorists, the plight of the thousands of unaccompanied and undocumented children arriving at our borders from Central America, and the death of a sixteen month old boy at the hands of his mother’s boy friend.

To say that life is not fair is a gross understatement. As I enjoyed my moment of beauty and tranquility I prayed, “Lord, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  As you have blessed me, help me to be a blessing to others.”

Jamie Jenkins

 

They are everywhere. You have probably seen them along the roadside or at a busy intersection as you drive around.

I am talking about the people with signs pointing you to places that serve food, rent apartments, prepare taxes, are going out of business, or will buy your gold. (I don’t know about you but I don’t think I would take my gold to one of those stores.)

Sometimes these people are dressed as animals, cartoon characters, the Statue of Liberty, and many other things. Often they are dancing and twirling their signs. Anything to get your attention.

Human billboards have been used for centuries in one form or another. In the early 1800s one common expression  was called sandwich boards. Charles Dickens described them as “a piece of human flesh between two slices of paste board.” The contemporary sign holders carry it to another level.

Sign holders are known as human directionals in the advertising industry. They are widely used especially in areas that have a lot of traffic. The signs will frequently be shaped like arrows in order to direct traffic to the location being advertised.

According to the Los Angeles Times Eye Shot, a Lake Forest, California company claims to have invented modern sign spinning using arrow-shaped signs. Another California company, AArow Advertising, conducts “boot camps” to train its employees, and has also filed patent applications for a number of its “signature moves”.

Demand for human directionals has increased significantly since the introduction of sign-twirling techniques and they appear to be highly effective. For example, The New York Times reported that during one month nearly 8% of the 3,600 people who visited model homes in a housing development in Moreno Valley, California  were directed there by human directionals.

I don’t know if this method of advertising is really cost effective. However, because of the significant increase in the number and variety of human directionals, I suspect they offer a viable alternative and give flexibility that some higher cost methods cannot.

Whatever you or I think about these sign holders/twirlers, there is a principle that the Church might take note of. If a human being pointing the way increases business traffic, the same might be true for leading people to faith.

Before you write me off as some “crazy person” (although there are probably other reasons why you should), I am not suggesting that Christians- or people of any faith for that matter- should dress up in outrageous costumes or engage in ridiculous dances on the street corner. What I am proposing is what I think Jesus offered when he said, “Let your light shine so that others might see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

The Church does not do “good works” to “show off.” Rather it is the result of following the One who “came not to be served but to serve.” I think the Church needs to do a better job of telling its stories- not so they will receive praise but to point others to the One who gave his life in exchange for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

Jamie Jenkins

 

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