NOVEMBER 2015 NEWS
TIME FOR A SIENFELDIAN CONVERSATION? RON GLADDEN | DIRECTIONAL LEADER
Jerry Seinfeld answered the phone. When he heard the voice of a telemarketer, he gave the best answer ever.
Jerry: I can’t talk right now. Why don’t you give me your home number and I’ll call you later.
Telemarketer: Uh, sorry, we’re not allowed to do that.
Jerry: Oh, I guess you don’t want people calling you at home?
Jerry: Now you know how I feel. (Click)
I love it when people are decisive. When they take a frustrating experience and respond in a fresh way with a plan of action. They give no one permission to make them victims. No one.
In the aftermath of the women’s ordination vote by the denomination, it may be time for a Seinfeldian conversation. Because the emotions don’t seem to be cooling off, since the pro- and anti-camps are as polarized as ever, I can’t help but wonder: What would Jerry do?
Here are some of his options. Assuming Jerry Seinfeld attended an Adventist church, he could:
Be thoroughly indignant, but go with the flow. (He might divert his tithe or start a Facebook group where people could vent, but he would hang in there.)
Find another church that recognizes women in ministry as equal to men, even if they believe some other things differently. (Since Jerry has a Jewish background, he could end up in a synagogue instead of a church. Because, yes, some Jewish congregations ordain women as rabbis.)
Create his own substitute for going to church (how about a life-altering conversation with George and Kramer over an egg-white omelet at Monk’s Coffee Shop once in a while?).
Start a home church (which peters out after Elaine and her Christian boyfriend get in a fight over who is and isn’t going to hell).
Do something different. Get in the postal van with Newman and Kramer and drive out to Vancouver to talk with the folks at Mission Catalyst.
That’s what the Penner family did. (Moving suddenly from the world of sit-coms to the world of, yes, this is real.)
I talked with Jonathan Penner this afternoon. “Nothing is more energizing,” he says with spontaneous emotion, “than sitting around a table with a group of like-minded people where the chemistry comes together around a common purpose. That’s what we do every week when we’re planning and dreaming about LIFE+APP. The sky is the limit.
“We haven’t even officially launched our church yet, and 170 people showed up at our Soul event last weekend. The room was buzzing with an exciting mix of skeptics, seekers, believers, and world changers. We’ve got Christians, Muslims, Agnostics, and many who don’t identify with any kind of religious framework. What brings us together is not our differences, but our common goal – regardless of our religious orientation, we are rallied around Jesus’ mission to restore relationship with ourselves, others, and our Heavenly Father.”
Jonathan continues his unrehearsed rant, “Teresa and I are not victims. We could have poured our efforts into trying to change the local Adventist church. But we know from experience that it’s easier to give birth than to raise the dead. Instead, we were compelled by a deep desire to serve our eclectic mix of friends by creating environments where they can taste and see God’s goodness.”
Their advice? Take your pick between these two: “Either rally a group of like-minded people and start the church you want. (But don’t try it without a great organization like Mission Catalyst behind you,” they insist. “We would absolutely not be where we are without MC.”) Or find a church that is already doing something significant and move there. This is the Abrahamic option. That’s exactly what Abraham and his family did. If God is already behind something somewhere else, pack up your family and your business. If a church has a good start, if they already have momentum, make the move.”
Slightly more important than what Jerry Seinfeld would do is your decision. Bottom line: Be decisive. Don’t be a victim. Do something positive.
And if you’d like to talk with someone who has taken the Seinfeld leap, Jonathan and Teresa Penner are willing – no, they’re eager – to talk with you. You’ll find them at lifeapp.ca. They don’t mind at-home calls from people who might sense the tugging of the Spirit to act. So call sooner rather than later (and be sure to tell them which Seinfeld episode is your favorite).
Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, we hope you’ll help us finance the mission.
Through generous donors the Penners have been given an even greater opportunity to build LIFE+APP so more people in their neighborhood come to know and grow in Christ, and your gift can do the same for our next project.