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Friday, November 09, 2018

Eyes on the Prize

Years ago Budweiser had a campaign built on the catchphrase, "Why ask why?" It seems as if it has become the motto of many. Whatever you do, do not ask, "Why?"

It often appears that people on diverging paths are arguing about ways things should be done without considering what they're trying to do. A current example. In this most recent election, Nevada voted down their "tampon tax." Wait ... what? Yes, they campaigned to remove the sexist tax on feminine sanitary products and won. No, wait ... there was a tax on feminine sanitary products? No, there wasn't. There was a tax on all non-food items, including those products. "Okay, so they removed a tax on a particular item based on the argument that it was sexist?" No, that's not true either. You see, the FDA classifies feminine hygiene products as medical devices and Nevada exempts medical devices from state taxes, so Nevadans voted to recognize the fact that some medical devices were being taxed when they shouldn't be. Nothing here about "sexism." Did Nevadans know what they were voting on? No. Everything about "sexism." The legal outcome was correct, but they didn't know why.

In Arizona we voted down a constitutional amendment that would require that in a decade we would be using 50% renewable energy. Very few seemed to notice that the second largest power company in the state was exempt. No one seemed to pay attention to the fact that the largest provider is already at 50% clean energy. The push was for renewable energy and we were never told why. We were told it would lower our bills (because building and maintaining an entire new power infrastructure is cheaper than the current one, right?) and improve our environment (oh, wait ... we already had clean energy), but no one was clear on the goal and we put an end to that game.

Just two examples. Examine much of life and you'll find a flurry of effort thrown into unclear aims. Politics, economics, business, education, marriage, family ... everywhere. We don't seem to know where we're going or why, but we are running hard after it, whatever it is.

We do this all the time. Think "church." People begin to ask, "Are we incorporating projects and processes and programs that bring people in?" They start looking at marketing schemes and adopt catchy mantras and run the numbers to see if their attendance and income is up -- "Yeah!" -- or down -- "Oh, no!" They do not ask, "Why?" Why are we here? What is our goal? What are we supposed to be doing? Because I don't find any metric in my Bible that says, "Take attendance, count the money, and see if you're a successful church." I see things in Scripture like "make disciples" (Matt 28:19-20) -- "Well, sure, we would but it takes too much time and effort, frankly, we don't see how that will improve our numbers" -- and "equipping of the saints to maturity" (Eph 4:11-16) -- "Um ... no, we're more interested in filling the space than making mature believers" -- and we mostly ignore them and move on to "better things" like "more people." Except in the final analysis these techniques largely fail and God's commands are ignored, damaging God's people.

Why ask why? Because if we don't know the reason or the aim or the actual goal, we don't know where we're going and we won't likely get there. Not in marriage, family, church, work, even in fun. "Hey, I came out here to play a game; why is everyone in swimsuits?" We really ought to examine what we're trying to do before trying to do it. It would make much better sense.


David said...

There you go trying to inject logic and reason into a perfectly emotional realm.

Stan said...

Yes, I try to do my part by inserting the mind where it shouldn't be. Whatever you do, don't think about it. :)

David said...

Remember, we're supposed to serve with our "heart, mind, and body". See, heart is first, so feelings trump thinking.

Stan said...

Since I don't see "heart" in that context as "feelings", I'm going to have to disagree with that sentiment. And with your use of the word, "trump." Let's leave politics out of this question. :)

David said...

It is unfortunate that that word is forever tainted by that man.