November 18, 2014

“Bear with me a little, and I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf.  I will get my knowledge from afar and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.” Job 36:2-3


redI am not a particularly handsome man. Therefore, I naturally gravitated to the axiom of Red Green, “If women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” It is a quality I have striven to maintain as my youth has faded through the years. Being handy, I will usually at least try my own hand at a task before turning to someone else.

Recently, my daughter handed me her Kindle and asked me a familiar question, “Can you fix it?”

Her Kindle would not charge despite all the jiggling and positioning of the charger in the power port. I was now handed a dead device. I don’t think my daughter really believed that I could fix her Kindle, but a handy father was her last resort.

Kindle 2.0 The black Kindle screen defiantly reflected my stupefied face, challenging all my experience. I did not have the first clue of where to begin a display of handiness on this electronic device. Therefore, I was forced to revert to the unspoken sanctuary of the homely handy – YouTube.

A quick search revealed that my daughter’s Kindle suffered from a design flaw. The power port is inadequately supported and the connections to the printed circuit board (PCB) can easily be broken; hers were completely broken.



I soldered the broken connections of the power port onto the PCB, reassembled the device, and inserted the power cord. After a short period of recharging, I expectantly picked up the Kindle. I briefly saw in my daughter’s eye that little girl’s belief in her handy Dad. A glimmer of belief that faded when nothing happened after repeatedly pushing the power button.

It was not fixed.

It was not a stellar display of my handiness and I had a gnawing feeling that somehow I had diminished the future prospects of the homely handy. I had revealed the secret truth of many handymen – YouTube. One can find a YouTube video showing you how to do just about anything.

We live in a new era.

When I grew up, I went to my dad, the most knowledgeable person I knew, to inquire about how to fix something. That is no longer the case. I can find more knowledgeable experts with a few search words and a couple clicks of the mouse. Our need for the retained knowledge of the handy has changed with the information age.

As a result, the homely handy face an uncertain future.

Will women ever find the un-handsome as handy as before when they know what YouTube holds?

Has YouTube stolen the best hope of us homely handy men of ever being viewed as attractive by women?

I think that we do live in an era of change that has more important implications than the perceived handiness of homely men. We get an incredible volume of information from the internet. We have an assortment of experts available via our smartphones wherever we go.

This availability changes our need for those gatekeepers of knowledge. I believe this phenomenon of the information age is transforming how we use handymen, doctors, lawyers, engineers, bankers…and pastors.The Christian Flag displayed next to the pulpi...

There was a time when the local clergy were the most knowledgeable theologians people knew. They were the ones with the seminary education, the theology books, and the training. They were the experts regarding all things God. Therefore, many local pastors assumed the primary role of educator for the congregation.

Not much has changed in many congregations. Just consider the weekly activities of the typical Church. The majority of those activities revolve around education. The typical draw of Sunday morning is the sermon, which is modeled upon an academic lecture.

Is your pastor still the most knowledgeable theologian you know?

Mine isn’t.
How can he be?

I have access to some of the greatest theological minds of centuries within a few key strokes. I can watch world-class communicators eloquently preach the Word of God via streaming. I can listen to podcast after podcast regarding any theological question that I might come up with. And then there are the blogs…It is not fair to compare my local pastor to these individuals who I can access on the internet.

Now, I am not arguing that it should be this way. I am arguing that it is this way.

Like so many other areas of my life, the information age has changed what I need from my local church. There is a cultural shift happening that is driven by technology. The availability of information is changing nearly every aspect of our lives. It is changing our expectations. It has already changed our need for experts.

The rise of the mega-church seems to be a result of this collaboration between technology and our tendency to follow a dynamic teacher (an expert). Inversely, I wonder if some of the decline in the local church’s appeal is not related to a traditional education model whose value has been diminished by technology.

Does the local pastor face as precipitous a fall as the homely handyman?

In my next blog, we can wrestle with ideas of how the Church might want to respond to this information age to further God’s kingdom and glory.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the world that we live.  Thank you for the availability of such wonderful teaching and insight that I would never have had access to just 20 years ago.  You are doing incredible things in this world.  Father, give us wisdom to know how to meet needs.  Give us understanding to know what our hearts and souls need to grow in sanctification.  Help us to minister in this informational age.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen





  1. Insightful and helpful perspective and warning. But can technology provide relationship and community? Can it look one in the eye when praising or rebuking in a way that communicates love whichever is the case?

    • Hi Michael – I agree that technology cannot fullfill our need for relationship and community. I posted my thoughts on how the Church should respond. I am interested to hear your comments.
      God Bless

  2. What an intriguing pairing of observations!
    It’s pretty clear that God’s plan to minister to people is still in effect, but there are more portals than there used to be. The thing is that God’s love still flows through people not Wi-Fi and His light shines out of lives not screens. Angels might have been more effective, more productive, but God ordained that His children would get to have a part in the family business of spreading the word and bearing witness to the person and work of Jesus Christ His Son.
    PS My dad was a plumber and fixed things for all of us until he passed away.

    • Hey Kelly – I agree that God’s love comes through people. I posted my thoughts on how the Church should respond. I am interested to hear your comments.
      God Bless

  3. […] “https://boyslumber.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/the-fall-of-the-homely-handy-nov-18/” This entry was tagged Fall”, HANDY, HOMELY. Bookmark the […]

  4. Thank you for your insight from your experience! I grew up with a family of handy men and women, there is nothing like being able to have a face to face or one on one with people that have great knowledge, especially working knowledge and the experience to pass wisdom to another! This is so true in the church, The Body of CHRIST ! The people who have commented on your post are awesome as well! I live for THE PRESENCE OF GOD TO FILL THE ROOM WHEN A GROUP OF BELIEVERS COME IN TO WORSHIP HIM! I can get in HIS PRESENCE by myself and I so embrace those moments, but to go to be with others that embrace the same and are looking for MORE! Just as YouTube is discussed I can get some useful knowledge, but also have to look for wisdom in that knowledge, but I need “A LIVE FEED”! Anointed, Mighty Men and Women of GOD are priceless ! I gain so much when they bring GOD in a room where they are and leave HIS PRESENCE there long after they have gone! May The LORD continue to bless YOU and KEEP YOU ! ;0)

    • Amen!

  5. The shepherd of the local flock is more important than the knowledge he wields. I still, though I go to a larger church, need that man at the head. I still want a relationship with him. larger churches make that much more difficult.

    • Hi D. Arthur – I agree that the shepherd is more important the his knowledge. Based on my follow-up post of thoughts on how the Church should respond, I think we will very much agree. I am interested to hear your comments.
      God Bless

  6. You bring up a great point, although I personally don’t think local church ministry can ever be replaced by technology. First, pastors primarily “feed their flock” by teaching from God’s Word, but they are also to be shepherds who get to know their people and provide personal care and counsel. You can’t get this type of individual care or discipleship from a podcast. Also, as intellectually engaging as it might be to listen to a recording of a sermon later, there is nothing like being in the room as a man of God proclaims the truth of Scripture and the Holy Spirit uses this to convict the hearts of those who are listening… there is a tangible sense of God’s presence during these moments that we completely miss if we fail to attend church in person.

    I think the important thing is that we find a pastor who proclaims the truth of God’s Word. Whether they’re a highly educated theologian or not, if they’re consistently teaching from the Bible then they’re proclaiming God’s message and not their own, and no one’s wisdom can compare to God’s… period. We do live in an age where people tend to look for “experts,” but I think we need to be careful here. Many men can call themselves “experts” and start teaching ideas that aren’t biblical. As long as my pastor is accurately handling Scripture and loving his people the way Christ loved people, he’ll have my undivided attention on Sundays…

    • Hey John– Very well stated comment. Based on my follow-up post of thoughts on how the Church should respond, I think we will very much agree. I am interested to hear your comments.
      God Bless

  7. Here’s a piece of info you may find as you research the value of gathering as believers in the information age: Has the impact of “live” teaching vs. “screen” teaching been researched? Do we absorb as much either way, or is one superior? If I remember correctly, secular educators are asking the same question, to determine if distance-learning by computer is just as good as classroom learning with a teacher. The evidence is pointing to the superiority of the latter. One important factor: relationship. A caring teacher can motivate, fine-tune instruction, give immediate feedback, etc. All important to learning. Would not the same be true for the church? A caring pastor, support staff, Bible teachers, etc. surely has more impact than a face on a screen.

    Interesting post, JD! I too, will look forward to the next installment on this important topic.

    • Hey Nancy – you are always such an encouragement and blessing! I fully agree with the vital necessity of relationship. In fact, I try to make the point in my follow-up post that relationship is our primary need a Christians. I am interested to hear your comments.
      God Bless

  8. For DIY jobs, I do use the Internet, but I far prefer a FTF (face-to-face) with someone so we can chuck ideas backwards and forwards as to how to get a job successfully done. If I didn’t have the Internet, I wouldn’t have church. Even with that, though, thee’s still far too much, spiritually that I can never access.

    Great page, and stick with the brick and mortar church. S’ got people in it 🙂 Plus you get people to pray with. You get Elders you can ask to pray over you when in need, and all that. The Lord’s supper, you will never miss out on. Folk can be baptized if they have somone to ask to do it. These are the things I can never access, and it hurts.

    A lot.

    Love to you 🙂

    • Amen Jennifer – Based on my follow-up post of thoughts on how the Church should respond, I think we will very much agree. I am interested to hear your comments.
      God Bless

  9. Yes, I am curious about your answer to this also. Does the anointing fit in here? Youtube may have information, but does it have anointing? Is the anointing even considered to be a factor anymore? Personally, I see an abundance of information, but a famine in the anointed. We know how to prosper, but we don’t know how to stay anointed, as in 10 virgins. So yes, I’m very curious where you see the church going.

    • I think that anointing or calling is essential to ministry. I tried to make the point in my follow-up post that the Church needs to value both the calling to teaching and to shepherding. I am interested to hear your comments.
      God Bless

      • I read your article and enjoyed it, but I think I’m on a different page. Jesus asked Peter if he loved “these things” more than me? Peter said he loved the Lord. Jesus said, Feed my sheep. Today I would say people love “these things” more than “prayer”. People are not “doing” because they are too busy doing other things, and if they do attempt something, they do it in a worldly way, not from a life of prayer. I know it is sad, but until were willing to “do” it the way Jesus showed us, then we will know much frustration. Sorry for such a bleak report, but surveys show no one is doing hard praying. We’re lucky if someone prays while driving. God gets a lot of multi-tasking prayers. There is a place for that, but God is tired of our leftovers. He will not bless it.

  10. Tremendous wisdom here, Homely. Why consult an expert when I can BE an expert? Perseverance and information will only get us so far. God has an answer even for this. Looking forward to your next post.

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