Saturday, February 15, 2014

Strategic Planning to Orchestrate Spontaneous Organic Growth Spurts

You have heard it said: "What the Church really needs is organic growth. And young people! More young people would be great." But truly I say to you: Organic growth can't happen when the Church's  standard operating procedure is strategizing and discussing what to expect on the upcoming Meeting for Strategy and Discussion.

It's true. I don't mean to climb up on a soapbox (though I will), but I've heard nearly my entire life that I'm the next generation church-goer and that "one day, all this will be yours," which comes across in a very Mufasa-prophesying-to-Simba sort of way. Problem is, I don't want all of it to be mine.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Psalm 7: Lions and chase scenes and child/parent relations, oh my!

The initial reason why I like psalm 7 is because of the punchy language. There are lions, heists and a chase scene within the first 5 verses.

“deliver me from all who pursue me
Lest, like a lion, they tear me to pieces

If I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered him who without cause is my enemy
Then let my enemy pursue me and overtake me.”

In these first lines, I hear someone singing about their faith in God and going so far as to say that if they have done anything, anything at all that may be anathema, then may the devil take me where I stand (which is, of course, complicated from an Old Testament perspective because they didn’t believe in a personified “devil” persay… anyway…)!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I saw something trending on Twitter today...

Never thought I would do this, but I'm going to write a blog, without prewriting, probably without editing, and then post it in an effort to explain something I did on Twitter today...

So today started pretty standard; I have volunteered to shovel the sidewalks at church, so I had to get up and do that this morning before 8 am (that's thanks to the so-called polar vortex and its effects here in Minne-snow-ta). Luckily, after I was done with that my wife and I went over to have breakfast with my grandmother. That was lovely. We also drove her to get groceries, since she stopped driving a few years ago. Then we came home and I tried to start a Twitter trend with #meaningfulchurchjargon.

I have to admit that it was a reaction. After settling into my recliner after the trip with Grandma to the grocery store, I had logged onto Twitter, thinking I would find out what's going on in the world and then get on with some other work after that. I think I may have got more than I was bargaining for.

Almost immediately, I stumbled upon a trend that had been started by Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. It was #meaninglesschurchjargon. People had globbed onto it and it took off. My interest was in it because I find NBW very thought provoking and challenging. But as I pursued the trend, I kept finding hurt after hurt...

I also found some telling tweets too...

I was perplexed. My blood boiled. Everything I thought was sacrosanct was laid bare for criticism... And I realized that it was just a chip in the dike and the flood waters would come running out at any time.

To be honest, I have some of my own thoughts on strange words and phrases that Christians use without thinking. Some of them, I think, are resonant. Some of them sound silly. But I tend to keep many of my opinions to myself. So when I saw these flood waters start to gush out, I responded (with as much chagrin as I could muster):
It felt foolish and mean. But it was my gut reaction that the hurt people have felt by others' words has caused them to start tearing down and criticizing everything, not for the sake of proof and deeper understanding, but because they just needed some way to lash out against the words and people who have hurt them.

My wife suggested to me that I start a different trend, if I felt so passionately about it. And I scoffed at her because I have never been so popular as to start a trend. But when I was done, I gave it a try. I started #meaningFULchurchjargon because I wanted to see the things that gave people hope. I wanted to see the things that gave people energy and made them come back again and again to a group of people who have been told they are crazy too many times to count. Why would anyone return to counter cultural teachings and strange rituals, if there was nothing else that compelled them or grabbed their imagination?

It's a slow response initially. But there are moving statements...

So. Let me ask you. What is your #meaningfulchurchjargon?