25 Aug Better Together
I have been bothered lately on several levels with the failings in the 7th Fleet, which operates out of Yokosuka, Japan. There have been four mishaps (the military term for an accident) in the last few months. The two most recent mishaps aboard the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain involved collisions at sea and resulted in the loss of life of 17 sailors.
It cannot be overstated how bad it is to have a collision at sea. The Navy is very clear about the ramifications of collisions at sea. So much so, that when I—who am completely removed from these mishaps—heard about them, I felt stressed. Collisions at sea end careers, and when there is loss of life, the punishments are even more serious. So far, the Commander of the 7th Fleet has been removed for a lack of confidence and the Fitzgerald’s two highest-ranking officers and the senior enlisted sailor have all been “removed for cause.” That phrase of punishment still sends chills up my spine from my service time.
What is the cause, you may wonder. I heard today the cause was preparation. The military has been cutting the budget over the last several years, and the men and women who are driving and running these ships aren’t getting the training they used to get. Surface Warfare Officers used to go to Newport, RI for 16 weeks, and now they get a CD-ROM and are sent directly to their ships to learn on the job.
I am so glad God doesn’t do that to us. I can’t imagine how much harder my life would be if I was handed a Bible and told to go figure out how to be a follower of Jesus. As if I could just read my guidebook and learn about what it is supposed to look like. I would not be properly prepared for the world, and it would not take long before I got myself into trouble. So many people of faith still use this approach.
It is getting increasingly popular for church to be a consumer experience. I attend or watch or download or podcast the message I want to hear, and then I move on with the rest of my life. We need more than that.
We need to study the Bible together to hear ideas and talk through challenging topics. We need to hold each other accountable and work as a team to fight sin and evil. We need to worship together and experience God and each other.
These endeavors strengthen us, individually and collectively. They help prepare us for the challenges and enemies that await us. Working together we will be the Body of Christ—the Church—and Jesus says the gates of Hades cannot stand against us.
Blessings to you,