‘Paranoid Pop’ is the "fun and games name" my son gives whenever I expresses some caution over a seemingly everyday decision.
That "reflection" is part of who I am. I have always reflected on decisions and thought about them carefully and thoughtfully; sometimes too much, and at times too little.
My wife, Delma, is also a careful thinker and has given due consideration to family discussions and subsequent decisions all our lives. This has stood them in good stead as we are now grandparents, having raised four children to be sensible and wonderful adults.
Living by faith financial support as missionaries for 42 years has leant itself to requiring more careful attitudes than perhaps the 'average' wage-earning family, particularly with any financial expenditure, no matter how small.
In our 42 years of marriage, we have moved four times and each time we have carefully considered our missionary endeavours and lifestyle, proximity to education and/or family and/or a country community, and most importantly kept their eye out for 'bargains' within the property investments they made. We sought to make 'improvements' to each property or investment before moving on again, whether it be a family home or a respite opportunity.
Our family solicitor has praised our frugality on all these occasions. These purchases have all been decisions made with care, caution, financial expeditiousness and have been aided by seeking the wisdom of the Lord in whatever we've undertaken.
Such decision making processes are clearly expressed many times within the Scriptures. For example, Paul (Philippians 4:6), writing to the Christians in city of Philippi, cautions that, we need to "be careful for nothing", in other words, there is not one thing that should be passed-over without giving careful consideration, (first part of the verse) and then it is to be bathed in prayer (the second part of the verse).
".... but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
It might be noted that the words "every thing" are separated rather than "everything" and the purpose of this was to place an emphasis on each "singular" issue. Some translations use the words "anxious for nothing" rather than "careful". As one commentator suggested, "anxious and careful". Various commentators link this discussion by Paul to 1 Peter 5 verses 7-8, with the emphasis on the first part of verse 8, "Be sober, be vigilant."
Sober and vigilant
It is not a case of being "Paranoid Pop", rather feels that I am sober and vigilant in whatever my hand undertakes.
When young I played field hockey. I reached quite a high level of competition because I seemed to have the knack of knowing where to be and what to do to achieve the 'right' tactics for my own team’s endeavours. As I look back, there was some intuitions, but in reality, I’d undertaken a careful analysis of what was occurring on the field of play. Great coaches and elite athletes are necessarily sober and vigilance in such matters.
I have placed that same sober and vigilant process into Ministry decisions. Many times I could have stood and fought (church politics can be ugly), but instead, after some deep breaths and a period of "waiting", I have often reached a better conclusion. Another Biblical example of this was when David "refused" time and again to kill Saul.
"Paranoid Pop" is a good fun name, and I rather like it, as it reveals a far greater Biblical truth.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html