Category Archives: Gathering

Not Alone in Feeling Alone – guest post at The Assembling of the Church

Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church has graciously allowed me to share my thoughts with his readers. What was the one thing I wanted to say to them?

“You are not alone.” That is the thing that I want to say to you. You are not alone, even when it feels like it. Many readers on this blog see the value of community and meaningful relationships among the Body of Christ. Many readers on this blog have faced resistance when trying to implement those things into their lives and into the group of believers they are part of. That can be very discouraging and often very lonesome. I know. I’m there.

Check out the post, Guest Blogger: Not Alone in Feeling Alone, to read the rest. I really appreciate Alan giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on his blog! Maybe I can get him to write something for me sometime soon. We’ll see.

Oh, also, in the meantime check out Running Late, a short story Alan wrote for Zombie Theology!


Using Easter

I was driving to work this morning and I passed a couple church buildings. The other night I drove over to the dump and passed another church building. All three of these church buildings had signs on their lawns. All those signs had this basic message “Come here on Easter Sunday.”

It is an obvious fact that people like to “go to church” on Easter. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it makes them feel good, maybe they like the tradition, maybe they are pressured by friends and/or family, maybe they think the preaching and music will be better than the rest of the year (with the exception of Christmas this is generally true), but for whatever reason, good or bad, a lot of people do it.

I don’t particularly care whether people go to church on Easter or not. I find that environment a little overwhelming and crowded, but if my family wants to go I have no problem with going. Some Christians take issue with the Easter/Christmas attenders. I think it is because those Christians have some idea that the holiday attenders are coming to fulfill some religious observation to appease their conscience or something. I’m not sure that most people actually think that way, but maybe, who knows.

The thing that I think is kinda weird is how Christians seem to use Easter to get those people into their churches even though they take issue with those people only coming once or twice a year. So it’s sorta like a lot of churches both condemn and promote the practice at the same time. I think that is weird and confusing. I’m sure many have “pure” motives figuring that people will be going to church anyway, so why not try to get them to come in and hear the gospel and maybe get saved, but the whole practice seems a lot like marketing techniques applied to the Gospel which I am not 100% comfortable with.

I have no problem with people celebrating Easter, I have no problem with people not celebrating Easter, but using the holiday to boost church attendance while opposing the practice of holiday-only church attendance seems a bit contradictory and a little disrespectful, not to the holiday, but to the Resurrection which is what is really being used and may be unintentionally cheapened by church-marketing strategies.


Probably Mediocre

The Mediocre Deli – “where the food isn’t great, but it doesn’t suck either.”

Probably Auto – “We can fix your car … most likely.”

I promise that in my area there are businesses named Probably Auto and The Mediocre Deli (although I did make up the slogans). You can check Google Maps if you don’t believe me. I have no idea why anyone would name their businesses such uninviting names, but, lets be honest, if most businesses were named more honestly then it is likely that there would be lots of Mediocre Delis and Probably Autos out there.

What if churches were named more honestly? Instead of the fluffy spiritual sounding names we sometimes give churches to make them seem more appealing with words like “life,” “renew,” “family,” and so on, maybe we could name our churches more along the lines of what we teach and demonstrate.

Here are some ideas:

We've all done it... why not go to a church that promotes it?

 

They've got the band, they've got the lights, they've got the soul patch

There is nothing wrong with thinking you are better than other people when it's true

Here I stand, because it would be too much work to walk over there

I see a church split in the near future, but for now sit back and enjoy the fight

What do you think? Would this kind of honesty bring in new converts? It may at least cut down on all those people calling Christians hypocrites, I mean you can’t really call someone a hypocrite who is being completely honest about their own attitude, beliefs, and actions, can you?

 

For those of you who have missed my Sign of the Times series, I hope you enjoyed these!


Imitation: the best form of trivializing

I am six years older than my sister. She pretty much worshiped me growing up (not that I can blame her, I AM pretty awesome!) and she would copy me all the time. She would say the things I said  (which sometimes got me in serious trouble!) or want to eat what I was eating or want to watch what I was watching … you get it. It would seriously drive me crazy, and even worse was when my mom would say that thing that parents say “imitation is greatest form of flattery.” I’m sure you’ve heard it. I’m sure it annoyed you. I’m sure you didn’t feel flattered or looked-up to, just annoyed. But it really is true … in most cases.

I was reading Radical by David Platt, a book I got as part of the blogging for books program which I am finishing up and should be reviewing soon. This is not a review of the book, simply an observation. Not far into the book he starts talking about these people in Asia who travel great distances to meet in secret and study the Bible. How they could lose their homes or families or lives for doing this but they loved following Jesus so much that they did it anyway and they would get together for hours and hours to study the Bible. Then he talks about how you don’t see this passion in America. Then he talks about how his church started a Bible study that lasts six hours. So far, so good.

But then he explains that they called this Bible Study Secret Church. Really? Secret Church? I get that it is paying tribute to, or paying homage to those meetings in Asia that he was talking about, but to me, and maybe just to me, it seriously trivializes what these believers face for persecution everyday. Meeting in a nice building in America with no consequences is NOT the same as meeting in dull lit rooms with the constant threat of being caught and losing everything. How do we stand with those who face these struggles? Maybe by praying for them or with them, or by offering them support, or maybe by going there and helping them, but having a Bible study at night and calling it Secret Church is the kind of imitation that  trivializes what these dedicated and courageous brothers and sisters face as an everyday reality.


The Faithful Few

Yesterday as I geared up to watch the Patriots play the Jets in the divisional round of the playoffs I thought, “I wonder how many sermons will be preached tonight on the faithful few who gave up watching one of the most important football games of the year (at least for Patriots fans) to be at evening services.”

I thought I was pretty awesome for being above such silliness.

And then the unthinkable happened … the Patriots lost to the stinkin’ Jets!

As I sat in my recliner with my beer and nachos in hand and stewed over how badly I hated being a Patriots fan, I thought “Man, I wish I had done something else tonight…”

Things I would rather have done in order of preference:

  1. Walked on Burning Coals
  2. Eaten worms
  3. Gone to Evening Services
  4. Read a Twilight book

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