January 2009


Peggy Noonan has been one of my favorite political commenters for a while now. She says very well my thoughts much better than I ever could and she spent enough time in Washington to really know what she’s talking about. Here’s an article she recently wrote talking about the new stimulus bill in relation to the new president. Captured my thoughts pretty well… A worthwhile read…

“Look at the Time”

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I’ll start off by saying that it’s never good to have a bad economy in general. I would much rather be in a crazy good thriving economy right  now. And I don’t really agree with either the Bush or Obama administration on how they’re handling it. I’ll save that for another day. Let’s talk about why this economic crisis is good…

Simply, it’s making us responsible. 

We’ve lived for far too long as a society living way beyond our means. We’ve been doing things we really can’t afford, living a life of luxury, and just pushing the payments til a little later. Well, guess what, it’s time to pay up for all that stuff. We’re suddenly going to have to pay for the lives we’ve lived (very literally!). 

I love that society at large jumped on the auto industry when they flew their private jets trying to get money from the government. Did you read just the other day that Citi (or was it Chase? don’t remember doesn’t really matter) had plans to purchase a new private jet (in the midst of posting poor quarterly reviews) and scrapped those plans. Starbucks is now selling their private jets. Accountability, it’s such a great motivating factor!

Character is suddenly in the forefront! Businesses are suddenly being forced to own up to who they’ve been. We’re suddenly forced to be who we are publicly and can’t fake it any more. What a great opportunity for America! We can live public lives and be honorable in the way we’re living. 

In my mind, this is a great outcome to a crappy situation!

Alright, it amazes me the thought process that goes through peoples heads. Seriously, can we really not think things through any more?!?!?!

Read this article…

So, it was ruled Unconstitutional to have a moment of silence for prayer or reflection to start of the school day in Illinois. The judge went on to say this in his ruling:

“The statute is a subtle effort to force students at impressionable ages to contemplate religion,”

So, wait, here’s what I can gather from that statement… #1, It’s wrong for them to contemplate religion, why? #2, We’d rather our students NOT think or have to think about current issues in our society. Crap, we’re doomed then. #3, high school students don’t have the mental capacity to contemplate religion effectively. Doesn’t that say something bad about your schools up their in Illinois???

And here’s the crazy part. This lawsuit was filed by a talk show host and….. his high school daughter?!?!?! Wait, so, high school students shouldn’t have to ‘contemplate religion’ at such an ‘impressionable’ age and yet this oh so impressionable high school student has the ability to file a lawsuit because she is such a staunch atheist?!?!?! According to the ruling itself this girl it too impressionable to file her own lawsuit!!!! 

This is absolutely ridiculous! This judge (and others) need to get a brain!

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photo by: eliazar

 

On to continuing the discussion on ‘different’ churches. 

I’ve heard a lot of churches, or read on their websites, or wherever something like, ‘we’re different than other churches’. Now, I know they’re referring to non-impacting churches (which, let’s be real, there are a lot of those out there) or traditional churches, or whatever. Great, you’re not like other churches. When did other churches become the competition to yours?

Last I checked we weren’t supposed to be in competition with each other. In fact, and correct me if I’m wrong, but, I thought we were supposed to be working together to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth. But I digress….

Maybe if we stopped trying to compete with other churches we might actually start making some cultural progress.

So, who are you competing with? Well, in Atlanta, if you’re trying to reach college students or young professionals you’re probably competing with Saturday night, not Sunday morning. The young professional crowd is out at bars and clubs and the college crowd is out partying with each other (unless they’re at Tech, then you’re just competing with their dorm room and computers – yeah, seriously). That’s the real competition.

I’m still waiting for a church here that will realize this and spend painstaking hours praying, fasting, and dreaming up ways to compete with this, not with other churches. That will be a different church.

Thoughts?

Lot’s to wrestle over these days…

  • With the new administration in place, how can I most effectively pray for and serve them?

 

  • When you’re meeting with a person and they tell you they’re a Christian. You’ve gone through the gospel with them countless times to which they agree and realize they aren’t living that way. Then they come to you later and tell you that they’ve repented and begun living the way the gospel instructs them to. Their life, however, shows no such change at all. You address this with them and they don’t see the problem at all. How long do you keep pursuing someone like this?

 

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photo by: CarbonNYC


I’ve been challenged lately by the above question. “Is ‘Different’ Right?” Is being a ‘different’ kind of church really the right thing to do? I understand the thought process, in fact, I’ve been a big proponent of that thought process. We do things different so that we can distance ourselves from the negative views traditional church has carried. We do things different to attract a segment of culture that traditional will never attract. We do things different because, hey, Jesus was different from the religious institutions of His day.

What about Atlanta (or insert your city here) though? Is different the right way to go? Are lost people who are seeking looking for a different church? Actually, what I’ve found is that lost people who are seeking God in their lives are not looking for different, they’re looking for stable. They’re looking for that church that has real answers to their tough questions. Just being different doesn’t cut it for them. Being a ‘different’ church only appeals to Christians who want to feel cool and edgy.

What if, in your city (or mine), being different means planting a completely traditional service that preaches the gospel in simple yet effective terms because that’s what feels stable, helpful, and safe to seeking people? What if a seeking lost person is looking for the only thing they know church to be; a hymn singing, robe wearing, acolyte donning church? And what if that church had a real life changing message? Incredibly unpopular with the new edgy Christian crowd? Maybe. This is what I would call ‘different’.

Now, I’m not saying I’m right here. I’m just posing thoughts that have been running through my head lately. 

What are your thoughts?

Yup, I just won the worst grade school photo contest over at my step-sister Lori’s blog. And, in case you’ve never seen it, here it is in all its glory…

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So now, I need some suggestions on what to do with my $10 of iTunes bucks. What should my iTunes purchase be???

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