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Saturday, January 29, 2011

My First Post

Greetings, folks on the internets!

I've begun this blog as a sort of path.  It started a few years ago, not in a specific moment or memory, but likely soon after I'd passed my 3,000th lame church sign.  At the time, as a ministry major, I just never was able to quite understand how churches could be so short-sighted and naive. Did the great minds of these churches think that the messages on the signs were helping?  I'd begun to wonder if anyone had ever attended a church service because of what had been written on a church sign.

So anyway, a few years later, and here I am.  I'm not sure exactly where this will go, but I'm sure that there are alot of people who start blogs without a clear picture of where it's going to take them.  But I feel as though I should add some disclaimers initially (I might add a few more as we go along).  So my first post here is going to simply be my aim, purpose and a few little notes.

My aim and purpose in creating this blog is to show how the American church actually is working against itself in many ways.  I'm a recently married man, and so I've recently begun a little bit of an addiction with HGTV and House Hunters (and other shows of this type).  When trying to sell a house, the folks at HGTV talk consistently about "curb appeal", or how appealing the house is to the potential drive-by buyer.  And we all know those houses; the ones that just POP! out at us as we drive by and we say, "Ooooh... that looks like a really neat place to live."

I feel like churches are the same way.  I mean, not to mention that American Christians are almost naturally more consumeristic, but there are some churches you just drive by, and because of their name, their sign, the sheer size of it, or because of some fancy architecture (like a kickin playground), we think, "I wonder what that place is like."  And I know a lot of churches who have spent a lot of money to update their facilities and their websites in an attempt to up their curb appeal.

But it's amazing how a few simple, publicized words can completely affect the mindset of a church, or how a church is perceived from the outside.  And pastors and volunteers will just put out things that sound witty and clever, or seem to be hard-hitting, without really understanding the minds of the people that witness these signs.

So again, my aim is to help churches understand that, as Derek Webb sings, "turning God's words to cheap clichés", is really not helping us out a whole bunch.  As you read, I hope you'll interact with me and provide some different perspectives as well.  I'm but one pair of eyes, filtering things through one cynical mind.  And I guess that's my first disclaimer.

My second disclaimer is that I am in fact a Christian.  I've been called into ministry.  My desire is to build up the Church, not to tear it down.  But I get angry with Christians before I get angry with anyone else (except Ohio drivers... you Christian Ohio drivers better watch yourselves).  I feel like people who aren't trying to follow Christ don't have to live by the same standards that I try (and fail) to live by.  And I feel like people who are trying to follow Christ should constantly be seeking to understand these standards that we're trying to live by... the life of Christ.

My third and final disclaimer of this entry goes out to parents.  I'm going to be try to be thoughtful in my usage of words.  But I'm not going to censor myself (too much).  Language, properly arranged, conveys thought, tone, and emotion.

More than anything, my hope is that anyone who reads this trifle of a blog will begin to think about some of the things we allow our churches to get attached to; not just words on a sign, but the buildings themselves, the programs we establish, and the image we bear in our communities.  How we're perceived is not the most important thing.  But how we're perceived can be incredibly harmful or helpful in the ministries of our local churches, and of the global Church.


  1. nice, I got one for you, nothing to do with a sign, I don't think cause I don't remember if it said anything witty or not but I went to a church in ga to see what the deal was, it was one of the larger ones in the area. sat there for like two hours listening about how the church needed more money to make a larger church and that america was only hanging on by a thread because of the missions we had in other countries and how if we did more we could save the country....meanwhile this nice big place had state of the art displays and sound, technology, etc and I get bored and start looking around, there might have been 5 people in that place with a bible, none we're provided, after two hours I did see one small single scripture from psalms and the rest was all politics and money...maybe that fact right there is why america is only hanging on by a thread? =P

  2. Thanks for starting this blog, I think there's a lot that needs to be said.

    I think keeping up the church facilities becomes something that's way too distracting for modern churches. All I keep hearing about are people who go to church and hear calls for more money and more funds to create new parking structures and new church buildings.

    Then I think back to the Bible itself. One day Jesus was walking by the Lake of Gennesaret and there were throngs of people crowding around him to hear his teachings. If we infuse the spirit of the modern church into Jesus (in a somewhat blasphemous way probably...), he would be demanding proper facilities and asking for money to help build them. He'd ask for audio equipment and all the digital frills obviously required to deliver a quality message.

    Of course Jesus didn't really do that. What did he do? He borrowed a boat, paddled it out into the water a bit and sat down and started teaching the crowd, who could now see him better.

    I keep thinking that we should have church services in this radical and simple way. We have public spaces like parks where services might be held. Ask people to bring chairs and there you have it. No more demands for money, only a service run by volunteers who refuse to accept money.

    There would be problems when there's inclimate weather of course, but it might be possible to find other facilities for free or for a small fee (this would be the only time the congregation would need to pool together the exact fee for renting the space). There might also be a problem with parking. Unfortunately so much of America is tied to the automobile, which has created parking problems all over. I would like to say that people should be encouraged to walk to the park or take public transportation, but driving isn't an easy habit to break. In any case, that's a whole other issue...