Matt Answers Your Questions

March 9, 2009

Last Friday, we had a little ‘Q’ time, and now it’s time for some ‘A.’ I was amazed at so many of the questions. You all did great (and with your answers too!) Some of them really made me think. A bunch of you sent questions, making for a long entry today, though I tried to be brief. I considered breaking it up into two posts, as I can’t see how I can possibly be that interesting to you, but here they all are, in the order in which they were recieved.

Who posted the best question?

Joanna from Joanna Muses asks:
What song do you like to singalong to when no-one else is listening?

I like to sing hymns, but really obnoxiously. I used to set up the sanctuary for church on Saturdays and would just start ‘singing’ really loud and off-key while no one was there. I always got a laugh out of that. Because I knew the next day, I’d be trying to sing softly because I can’t really sing and not laugh at the showboats who were singing loudly and off-key in front of everyone. How holy does that make me?

Sherri from Matter of Fact and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
Do you think your cyber self is more popular than your personal (real-life) self?
Yes. I am an easy going and easy to get along with guy, at least I think so. But I just have a small circle of close friends. I just don’t have access to as many people in person as online.

I.H.S. from Managing the Unmanageable asks:
Do you ever have moments of thought where you say to yourself, ‘I can go to heaven without being a pastor’?
Great question. I am constantly burdened with my responsibilities, ambitions, failings, desires and duties, all of which seem to conflict often. But I haven’t seriously considered quitting yet; I’m not that jaded. I believe I would go to heaven even if I quit the ministry, but I don’t think God has released me to do so. If I did leave the ministry, I wouldn’t be the first or the last person to not live up to God’s direction in life.

Destiny of What? asks:
If you had to choose one dvd to watch for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Destiny responded that she would choose ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ Unfortunately, if my wife and I were stuck on an island with just that movie, I might try to make a break for it and swim.

I love lots of movies – The Shawshank Redemption, About Schmidt, Moulin Rouge, American Beauty, Amelie, and my new favorite, Gran Torino. But if pressed for one today, I just might pick Stranger than Fiction. Just a funny story about a guy who I can really relate to. Plus, the incredible design in the movie was done by a Kansas City based studio called MK-12. I got to see these guys at a little expo, and they are my design heroes. I’m a nerd.

Tony C of Tony C Today asks:
Have you ever belted out the song ‘Natural Woman’ (Aretha style) with complete abandon?

Tony says this is a great way to make his wife smile. While I haven’t done this, my method is to get really serious and sentimental with my wife and see how much of a song I can recite before I get caught (no melody – like I’m just whispering sweet nothings to her)

Me: Cheri, I know I don’t say this enough, but thank you.
Thank you…for being a friend…
traveled down the road…and back again.
Your heart is true.
You’re a pal and a confidant.
And if you threw a party…

Cheri: Stop it! That’s ‘Golden Girls’ you tool!

Katdish from Hey Look, a Chicken and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
Are you picturing Tony C in drag, a-la-Aretha Franklin wearing that awful hat she wore at Obama’s swearing in ceremony?

Is that really your question? You get a once in a lifetime opportunity to ask me a personal question, and this is how you spend your chance? No, no I’m not; that isn’t how I spend my time. Katdish, ladies and gentlemen.

Kyle Burkholder from The Post-Karmic Stream asks:
What stickers/decals adorn the back of your car?
Anyone ever seen these sweet European ‘initials’ stickers on cars? They make them for all the countries. There’s a couple of neighborhoods here that have those. Brookside has ‘BKS.’ I actually live in a town called Liberty, so ours is ‘LIB.’ It feels like a pair of Chuck Taylors for my car, it’s just that cool.

I also have a faded seminary parking sticker, which is not nearly as cool.

The OC Josh from Joshing Around asks:
What do you think of the next generation?
You imply by your question that I am too old to be part of the ‘next generation.’

Well I am actually old enough that there are some people younger than me. It will be hard to tell until several years from now. I thought ‘my’ generation was special – anointed by God. But I saw plenty of my friends fall away through college.

That said, the larger generation today (which I think you and I both belong to) I think has some very special and exciting things which will soon become apparent: a great group of people concerned with living in the Kingdom of God today, and bringing it to people like the world hasn’t seen in a long time.

Also to keep in mind is the new generations of Christians that are being raised or converted in other countries…Ah, I’ll have to save that for another post!

Phil Hoover, Chicago from Something to Consider asks:
If you could go to any country outside of North America for a 7-day vacation, where would it be?

I’ve aspired for a while to take a tour of the ancient New Testament cities throughout Greece.

Z from GeeeeeZ! asks:
If you could design your PERFECT CHURCH place, what would it look like?

Depends on the church. If my church, Levi’s House, ever builds a building, I’d like to see it look like a house in Jesus’ day. Stone foundations, plaster walls, a courtyard surrounded by glass (to give the illusion of opening into the building) and tile awnings.

I’d also like to see a church in an arena carved out of a cave. Stone arches, wood beams, dim lighting. Like a catacombs, or the underground churches of Cappadocia, but less adorned.

Marni at Chronicles of Marnia and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
Matt, you are a man and therefore wired emotionally different than a woman. Tell me how, as a man, do you relate to Jesus since your emotional attributes aren’t likely geared toward the same things a woman would be?
First, I love interacting with God’s word. I love the inspired beauty of it. I love the poetic ways God has shown his justice, and his mercy. I love how carefully God guided men’s hearts in their writing.

Second, I see the love of God in the wife he has provided me. Unmerited love, that is.

Third, I feel like I relate to Jesus the way his disciples did. He’s a teacher, he’s Lord. I hope he’ll be telling me ‘well done, faithful servant’ one day. I can cry at times, but it’s not a sappy love song with me and Jesus.

Good question. Had to think about that one a while.

Beth at That’s No Me Anymore and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
What is your wife’s name and how did you meet her?

That is a true story of serendipity. Let me give you the short version:
I go away to Christian college. I meet Girl (not my wife) there, but we aren’t really friends.
I transfer to State College in Kansas City along with a guy from Christian College as roommates.
One day, I’m driving into a parking lot and catch the eye of Girl driving out.
Me and my roommate become friends with Girl.
Girl and Roommate finally get me to come to Cool Church with them on Sunday nights, even though I already have a church.
Girl introduces me to Cheri at Cool Church, who is part of her prayer group. She’s cute.
Cheri falls madly in love with me. We get married.
I’ll be performing Girl’s wedding in a couple of months.

Ryan B at Crazy Delicious and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
If you were a Disney character who would you be and why?

If you had asked my high school friends (who played this game), I was most like ‘Doug’ personality-wise. I know – not technically a ‘Disney’ character, but Disney did buy the rights to Doug, I think.

If I were to aspire to a character? Aladdin. That guy was boss.

Jo from The Jesus Joint asks:
Do certain praise songs remind you of certain times of your life?
Down in My Heart – Sunday School
Change My Heart O God – teenage years
The Lord’s Prayer (with awkwardly long interlude) – Christian College
Praise ‘Medleys’ formed songs which don’t go together – Seminary
Blessed Be Your Name – Cool Church, and present church

Ryan Tate from Tater House asks:
What single piece of encouragment, counsel, or advice has most improved your preaching, teaching, or sharing as a pastor/leader?

Of everything my seminary teachers said, I remember something my Greek and Hebrews exposition prof told us. He said he didn’t want us to remember anything he said. He just wanted us to remember God’s Word. It is ironic that this is one of the only things I do remember, but it makes me realize that people remembering my sermons is not important (that’s futile anyway), it’s changed lives that count.

Shark Bait from Shark Bait’s Reef asks:
Do you find it easier to be a pastor in the real world, or in the blog world?

No comparison. I truly think of you all as my second church. I am so thankful for each of you. I pray for you. I hope each day that I’ll get to interact with a few of you one more time. This blog is a fun way to express myself as if no one will read it, and I’m thrilled that anyone does.

But I’m not your primary pastor. I hope I can lend you some encouragement in your week, but your own pastor has so much more responsibility to and for you. He’s the one responsible to God for your soul, and that is an emotionally draining thing for pastors who take it seriously. I say this while occupying the least physically stressful church I’ve ever encountered.

Joshua Conti from Caffiene Rarely Works asks:
Why do zombie stocks like Washington Mutual still trade?

People who have waited until now to sell their worthless scraps of paper are doing so now so they can claim an official loss on their taxes. The people who are buying them are probably idiots. Or collectors of common stock of extinct companies.

Yes, I am a genius. Also, Google is awesome. Next.

Undying Love from Undying Love asks:
Why is your blog called what it is?
The idea was that I’m a pastor, so on Sundays I have to deliver a message. It will be from the Bible. It will be challenging, uplifting, encouraging, convicting, at least I hope so. But what if no one came to church? I could say whatever I felt like! This blog is that church where no one shows up, and even though I now have you to read it, I try not to think about whether you will like what I say or not. So it’s just me, talking to myself, and you’re listening in.

Just Becca from Taking the City by Surprise asks:
If the entire world was infected by the “virus” that causes zombies, and you had the only vial that could cure it and would only save five people including yourself…who would you save?
Let’s see, Chuck Norris, Milla Jovovich, Bruce Campbell and myself either have extensive zombie repelling experience, or similar qualifications. Jeff Goldblum would have to come along as some kind of scientist who could figure out how to blow everyone up or blast us into space or something.

Justin from Bound Staff Press asks:
If you could eat anywhere or anything what and where would you eat?

Kansas City is a great barbecue town. Sweet and spicy with lots of sauce is our regional style. Arthur Bryant’s is the best. That’s where Presidents eat when they’re in town. Brisket and burnt ends, yeah!

Nicole at Living Under the Influence (of Grace) and Blue Jean Hostess asks:
If you were in a rock band, what would be your role?
That is a tough one, since I am utterly un-musical (outside of Guitar Hero.) I guess keyboard. In our band picture, I’d be the guy looking thoughtfully away from the camera.

Gabrielle Eden from I’m Free Now asks:
How do you find the time to do all the writing on your blog, and how much time do you spend on the internet per day or per week?

I’m used to mental multi-tasking. While working, I alternately mentally prepare for sermons as well as plan out blog entries. So when I sit down to write, it doesn’t take me all that long. No telling how much time I spend online between work and play. Probably an hour or two on weekdays, more if it involves work, but a good deal of it is not as redeeming as blogging!

Helen at Random Musings and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
What is your favorite hymn or praise song?
All time favorite hymn: ‘And Can it Be’
Second place: ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty’

Jamie from Thoughts from a Late Bloomer asks:
If you could be a fruit, what kind would you be?

A banana. I couldn’t live with myself if I were any other fruit. Especially tomatoes…look at them, pretending to be vegetables. I refuse to call tomatoes ‘fruits.’

AmenMom from AmenMom asks:
What’s something unusual or unique about your childhood/youth?

I had a pretty ordinary childhood. Oldest of two boys. Mom’s a teacher, Dad’s a preacher. I was a smart kid and artistic, but not athletic. I did debate and competitive acting in high school. I competed against David Cook of American Idol fame more than once in those tournaments. I was in Boy Scouts for over 10 years. That’s pretty much me!

Uptown Hippie from Uptown Hippie asks:
What is your favorite breakfast food to make and/or eat?
French toast is awesome. Biscuits and gravy is also amazing, but probably my least favorite to make (if doing it from scratch.)

Jeremy Wong from My Name is Jeremy Wong asks:
What are some of your most useless skills that you think are cool and deserve an international following?
I am excellent at playing Super Mario Bros. 3. I won the championship video game tournament at Universal Studios Theme Park in 1989. It was a pretty big deal. They made a movie about it with Fred Savage. Seriously, it’s 10:30 pm, and I’m trying to think of my most useless skills which deserve fame. I am completely average, I assure you, despite the facade of talent I project.

If you made it this far, I salute you! Whose question was the best? Now, go visit a new blog!