Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jr Church and seeing Christianity Lite

I got a chance to see why Christians don't influence culture much anymore. I mean Christians are seen as harping on things, (naughty movies and books etc) but as far as being redemptive ambassadors for God's loving Kingdom on earth in the U.S., those are days of long ago...well not sure that happened in the U.S. like it did in the 1st century, or ever will. It is a myth that this is a Christian country. This is a Consumer country. Pop culture wins the day.

Our segmented lifestyle chops off God and spirituality into a bitty section and keeps it there.

Also- It seems like this happens by fourth grade. I found that out as I taught Jr Church today. I would suspect to find this among secular (unchurch kids). And why not? They've been raised on a diet of tv. They haven't been imbued with the Scriptures and so many hours of Vacation Bible school, church camp, Bible teaching, and biblical values and at home. How wrong I was!

I taught the kids a short and fun (I hoped) lesson about "God's math" being that it was a back to school theme. All the kids begin school tomorrow. I told them that we would make backpack tags with their names on them and the math formula 1 + 1 = 3, because when we are with someone else who loves God, Jesus is right there with us. If they felt sad about something at home, or nervous about a test, they could ask a friend to pray with them or for them. They understood the concept, but they really balked with the idea of the tag. I got a lot of lip! They told me this plan wouldn't work for all kinds of reasons.

They couldn't have anything with Jesus on it at school, said one girl, (not that the tag had that on it anyway). Writing that on a tag wouldn't be the correct math answer said a fourth grader, and it would make her look stupid. She wasn't interested in telling others that Jesus was with her anyway. School was school after all. They weren't allow to have things hanging from their bags anymore, said someone else. Those were the rules several piped in. I had a lot of resistance to the idea of taking a spiritual idea outside church. These responses were all from children whose families had brought them to learn about God since they were babies. You would think being a Christian, outside church, would be a high priority, but in reality spirituality just fit into a little box saved for Sunday, as it may for their parents, and for so many people in contemporary life. It's not so surprising how it trickles down.

What is really informing them in a week? How much time and money is spent on secular video games and entertainment compared to their spiritual formation to integrate their christian worldview?

How much television is educating them, internet diversions, ipod, etc. POP CULTURE wins and so Christians make little difference in their surroundings.

I guess I knew it, but it was surprising to see it so well-formed so early on!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Emerging Christianity and back to school

Are we ever done learning and growing?
It can not be!

Our dogma--beliefs-- are never really (whether we are aware of it or not) fully explored, or vetted.

If we feel so certain we have come to a good spot, then either our eyes are closed and our ears are plugged, or we have a bumpy road ahead, perhaps even a crisis of faith to traverse around the bend.

God pulls our hand into deeper water where we cannot touch bottom and must try to swim,(doggie paddle) and then when we think we are so good at swimming, he will show us how to give up and float. It was, in fact never about swimming. Our energies fail-they are suppose to-and he alone can rescue us. Our energies will fail us and he will be right there being God, should we let him, and become truly mature, in any real way.

We can always go back to school. Many Christians are dropouts, but I really believe in life-long learning!

Monday, August 11, 2008


I love the Olympics!

I love men's diving, gymnastics, swimming volleyball, water polo. (well, fit men. I like sports too.) All these great sports feature excellence, beauty, strength, and show people (both genders) who sacrificed SO much to do their very best in the world arena. I find it very enjoyable.

There is a lot to be proud of when watching the Olympics. I don't mean just for the home country one roots for, but for humanity. It's a joy to see people try and do well.

But what about not winning? We prize winning, and we REALLY REALLY don't show up to lose. If we were going to just show up to give up, what would be the point? Right? Very silly.

What if instead of coming to be King and kicking butt, some One just came to be misunderstood, falsely arrested, and executed? Anti-climatic? What if we had new eyes to see losing? Weakness? Mental Retardation? Illness? Dying? It can turn our world up side down.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Stuff Christians Like- see Jon

The previous post was meant to be funny. Not sure if it came off that way. Jon's got the snarky thing down pat, and it's funny enough that you keep coming back for more.

Check out

Things Pastors Like

Top Five for 2008
The winners are. . .

1) Business Cards with good info on them. Lots of info. Even if it has to be in 5 point type to fit on the card.
Title designations by their names, so there is no confusion. Which there would not be because the church name is there. The custodian doesn't get a card, who else would have one? But these thoughts come to their minds---that confusion could set in---for outsiders. Maybe "the lost". It should say at the least "Pastor" by their name. "Rev." or Reverend if possible. But, if that designation has not been earned at school. "Pastor" can be used, because it's "general". M. Div. is a craved add on by some. PhD if qualified, and so forth.

2) Glitch-free power point visual aids. After all the trouble they went to finding their stuff online, sermon illustrations, graphics, photos, quotes, sermon topics, heck, sometimes even sermons themselves, they can get really stressed when the power point doesn't cue right on, or worse, genuine software bugs and projector problems crop up!

3) Testimonies. It shows God is at work. Sometime people shoot a compliment their way. It's especially helpful if they massage the folks ahead of time to speak on how great it is to tithe!

4) Vacation to an exotic place that looks like it's a missions trip. Let's face it, these folks are judged by how busy they are, not by their quality of time spent with people--their relationships-with God or people, to be honest. That stuff that takes time. They truly need Sabbaticals and real rest. Who can blame them for burning out and wanting to escape the flock. They may plan a getaway how ever they can, even if that means dressing it up a bit, right?

5) Enough church attendance to go to a second morning service, but not enough to go a third service, (unless the congregation is willing to pay for another pastor to help out and share the load.) What starts out as a cool ego rush as the numbers jump, quickly turns into a bummer of a burden. . . .. . . [daydream sequence] Wow we could see real growth here... will the funds match the turn out? Will it work to get them on board for that leap of faith for more good help? Doing the same sermon three times every Sunday. That might STINK! Maybe I should tone things down. Talk about sin more, that sort of thing. Um. It's not all about numbers, I'll just tell them that. What we need is quality not quantity. . . .

: )