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Old Faithful

March 21, 2006

I have had the priviledge of going to Yellowstone twice. Both times I joined in with the crowds to sit and wait with cameras at the ready for Old Faithful to errupt.

Old Faithful is not all that impressive. It is not anywhere near the largest gyser nor the most spectacular. It is nearby the Old Faithful Inn which IS impressive. Old faithful has several things going for it. One is that it has a lot of history or good press if you will. People have heard about it. What would a trip to Yellowstone be without seeing Old Faithful. The othe thing it has going for it is that it is fairly regular. Thus the name. The Park Service will tell you about when the next “event” will happen. People flock to that like pigeons to popcorn. (feel free to use that last one in conversation)

People love predictability. Well most people do. Predictibility is safe. It allows for you not to have to waste a lot of time. People gather arround Old Faitful and fill up the benches, they stand several people deep trying to get their camera or camcorder or both ready. They expose their film and then its over and they disperse. Kids are gathered up and they go their seperate ways. Yellowstone has some of the most awe inspiring, Sureal, experiences I know of but Old Faithful is just not one of them. Maybe its the crowd. Maybe its that the Park Service has it all figured out for you.

I have encounterd God in Yellowstone in memories I will never forget. He was there when I was too dumb, blind, deaf to realize it. But I knew that something remarkable had just happened.

I grew up using a phrase that others used. The phrase was “They (He / She) are faithful” or “They are faithful Christians”. We knew what that meant. What it meant was that they attended “faithfully”. They didn’t miss church.

I think that we asked the wrong question. I think we used the wrong measuring stick. I am not saying don’t be a part of a church. I certainly am not saying don’t be a part of the holy catholic church. (I hope you know what that means if you are going to quote me on that please for your sake look up the meaning.)

We should ask are they really living for Jesus? Are they growing in the likeness of Christ? Do people see Jesus when they see them? Do they hear Jesus when they speak? Do they feel the love of God when they encounter them?

I resolve to not use that phrase again. It carries too much baggage for me.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2006 10:21 am

    So what you are saying is Old Faithful is really just Old predictable….

    Maybe that is what we have been saying (notice past tense) when we say people are faithful….they are predictable, they will be here when the doors are opened.

    To truly live like Jesus lived we cannot be predictable. Who would have guessed he would have turned water to wine or cursed the fig tree….. I think I will join you in your boycott of that phrase.

  2. March 22, 2006 10:44 am

    Growing up in Greenbrier Tennessee back in the 50’s – 60’s my best friend had a dog that used to follow us everywhere. When my friend would leave with his family for church, Sambo would cut across country and beat them to the building. Sambo never missed a service until the day he died. I still have a copy of the article written about him in the Robertson County Times.

    Anybody can show up, Sambo proved that. But being faithful, now that is another story.

  3. March 22, 2006 12:31 pm

    My friend, Lizabeth, worked at Yellowstone two summers during college. In fact, my keyring is a big pin that held the laundry from Room #1 of the Old Faithful Inn. (Lizabeth had to work in laundry the first year) That pin may or may not be stolen so let’s keep that on the down low.

  4. March 22, 2006 1:29 pm

    reading your post reminded me of a forum thread that spoke of the nicene creed. it said, and i am paraphrasing, ‘we believe in one holy catholic church.’ i remember thinking …. hmmmm. that all sounds good up to the part about the catholic church thing.

    i went to wikipedia and searched on it. here is an address wikipedia’s site:

    i went there and looked up catholic, and nicene creed to see what is meant by the catholic church and it is not what i thought it was about. its not a dirty word like i was lead to believe growing up.

    it is strange how the meaning of some sayings get twisted around over time. just like the country song about coke, and being down with something. i think that we still need to say that people are faithful, but maybe clarify what we think they are faithful at.

    thanks for the visit and comment on my blog, by the way.

  5. March 23, 2006 12:01 pm

    TCS… You know that when I read this I couldn’t get over how it tied in with my current situation. So, as usual, T… you are Timely, Telling and Transforming.

    Actually, you’re a lot more than that. Those are just the only T words I could think of.

    Have you ever wondered how many great parts of sermons were probably lost b/c they didn’t fit in with the bullet-point alliteration?

  6. February 17, 2007 10:56 am

    I’m just glad I didn’t find a response from me on it.

  7. February 17, 2007 10:57 am

    I didn’t want to be accused of blogger plagiarism.

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