Ask Me Anything

April 18, 2011

Happy Monday.  Woo!

I haven’t done anything like this in a while, and I always think it’s a great time getting to know this community better, so today’s a super special fun time blog day!

Today I want you to ask me a question.  Any question, really.  Ask me about something that you don’t know about me.  Or you can ask me for a piece of advice.  I give great advice.  This weekend, a reader asked my advice about her son’s college choices.  For real.  It was fun.  It can be something like that, or you can ask me something less consequential, like the best way to cook a steak.

Here’s the catch.  If you’re asking me something about myself, you have to answer the question about yourself.  And if you ask me for a piece of advice, you have to give me a piece of advice on a topic of your choice.  The usefulness of the advice I give you will be proportional to the usefulness of your advice.  Got it?

Also, take a moment to notice the new features here on the blog.  I’ve totally overhauled the navigation and sidebar.  There’s a few related posts listed in the sidebar from the archives, for your amusement.  You’ll see a place where the top commenters are posted.  It’s tallied over the last five days, and you can see it only takes a few comments to get your name on the banner.  I’ve been told that my blog really does drive traffic to readers’ blogs.  So getting advertised on my blog very well may change your life for the better.

I’ve also made it easier than ever to contact me.  The “Contact,” “Free Stuff,” and “Speaking” pages all have integrated message forms.  No more copying and pasting email addresses.  Yea!

If you don’t have a photo that pops up when you comment, head over to Gravatar to get set up.  Gravatar is recognized by many commenting systems, so it’ll work on lots of different blogs, not just mine.  And I love to have a face to put with a name.

Okay, let’s have some fun with the questions.  Ready?  Go.

87 responses to Ask Me Anything

  1. Walter Reinhart April 18, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Been having a discussion recently in the circles I frequent about different bible translations sparked because of the newer version of the NIV out. What version/s of the bible do you use and why?

    I currently read and use the NIV for pretty much everything as it was the bible I was first given that I read. I still prefer it over the ESV (the other one lots of my friends use) because it is a lot easier to read. Recently I have started reading the ESV and although it might be a more “accurate” version it is just a lot harder to follow the flow of some passages. I figure that any translation will never get things perfect so I might as well just use one and roll with it.

    • I go with NIV, because it’s a good balance between translational accuracy and readability. I went to a Baptist seminary where ESV was the standard, but the professors were constantly having us mark in our Bibles what it *should* say. And I’m looking at my NIV thinking “that’s exactly what my Bible says already!”

      But in my studies, I use BibleWorks program that contains every major English translation (not the Message or other summary translations). I can line up as many translations verse by verse for comparison. It also has commentaries built in, and lots of other nifty features. Something like that or Logos is really handy.

      • Logos stinking rocks…
        SethC recently posted..Group

      • Walter Reinhart April 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm

        Thanks for that, I have heard the reverse happen with deficiencies in the NIV being fixed in the ESV too and also in the way you mentioned.

        I will have a look in to the software you mentioned. I am doing a ministry traineeship with my church and something like that would be rather useful.

  2. Hi Matt,

    Two questions really, and these are serious because I really don’t know the answers so I can’t give you some snappy comeback.

    From your postings and pictures, you appear to be a fairly happy guy, so my first question is how do I tell the difference between the dark night of the soul and plain old depression?

    Question two is like unto it: how can I tell the difference between a temptation and an opportunity? I mean in things that are morally indifferent such as this job or that, this task or that when neither one carries the weight of duty?

    Just asking.

    • Wow, good questions. I think everyone suffers temporary depression. I know I have. But you are right, I am a generally optimistic guy. Moreso than most people. But I also realize that my sunshiny attitude is also a defense mechanism to help me deal (or not deal) with things that are really emotionally tolling to me. So basically, we’re all screwed up.

      But in seriousness, clinical depression runs in my family, and while it looks different for everyone, it is real. A person who’s just depressed can probably tell you why they are sad. Clinically depressed people are usually sad about “nothing” or ironically “everything.” It affects eating habits, sleep habits, relationships, ability to work, ability to socialize. It may be because of a chemical imbalance which could require medication. Or it may be because of other situations in life which simply require counseling to cope with and no medication. No shame in going to a counselor like any other doctor to ask “is there something wrong with me?”

      That second one is tough. I don’t know. Right now, I’m looking for a job, and I will take whatever comes along. But I always consider my wife a good litmus test, because she’s very un-excitable. If she thinks something’s a good idea, I trust that it’s a good idea. Getting other perspectives is probably the best you can do.

      • I’d like to add my 2 cents worth for John…
        Seems that a temptation is something that leads us away from God, while an opportunity should draw us closer. This has little to do with how hard it will be, or how “logical” from a human perspective. Opportunities often push us to pray more, while temptations are something we inherently want to cover up.

        • Thanks, Leslie.

          The problem for me often lies not ‘twix sin and virtue, but between two equally ok activities–like I’m working on one manuscript and get asked to drop that and do another. I never know which the Lord would have me do, stick with the current project or abandon that and move on to the next, or to do neither one or the other.

          I often feel that no matter which way I turn, it doesn’t matter; the Lord doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.


      • Thanks for your input, Matt. I’m not depressed, just permanently sour.

        I wish you joy and good success in your job hunting.


  3. How do you not feel bad for going to another church than the one you’ve gone to for 30 years? I feel like people would be nosy and wonder, “Oh man, what’s going on with them, they’re not attending here anymore?”

    My advice/what my gut tells me is to not feel bad and to do what’s best for your family. It’s not up to other people to decide where you should go to church even if you grew up at a particular church and are deciding to go somewhere else.
    Charlie Chang recently posted..Blog contest winner!

    • I guess you’re asking because you’ve started going to another church? It’s tough leaving a church. My advice is:

      Be upfront. Tell people that you’re moving on, and have a good reason. (Preferably not “we’re not being fed here.” Because I easily counter that with “who are you feeding here?” Something concrete.)
      Don’t lob a grenade on your way out the door. No sense in hurting feelings more than they’re going to be hurt.

    • I did some parish hopping, myself. My mom was using a walker, unable to use stairs, and the handicapped ramps at our old parish winded around making her walk further than she was able. We then went to a parish that was level, but the community was “too ritzy for our blood” (I was criticized for not wearing designer clothes. I don’t own designer clothes. I own nice but simple clothing, and perhaps some nondesigner fancy stuff that still wouldn’t have been appropriate). We ended up at the parish we are now (level and down to earth), and even though mom is gone, we are grounded there and do not wish to go back to where we started. When I meet people from the first parish, I tell them about the winding ramp having been uncomfortable for mom, and now that she is gone, I just don’t want to Church hop. When I run into people from the second parish, I just vaguely say that the parish we now attend is a good fit for our family and that we are very happy and hope they are happy, too.
      My point is that you could tell them why if you think you could do so without hurting them, or just tell them that you and your family are happy where you are and let that be enough for anyone.
      Helen recently posted..A Book and Its Cover

  4. We had such a fun Skype and a number of emails since, which was mostly about serious stuff like jobs, Jesus and healing from church wounds, how about a couple of lighter subjects?

    Did you play any sports, organized or not before you got married?
    ME: Lots of them, skiing, hockey, motocross, bowling, track and basketball.

    Do you follow any sports and/or teams (at least during the play offs)?
    ME: Everything but soccer. I enjoy my Boston teams, but I watch all the Stanley Cup games that I can.

    What was your favorite subject at any point in your education?
    ME: Oceanography

    Who would you like to see run against Obama in ’12?

    I know, not very light –
    David recently posted..Dead Religion vs Life

    • I’ve never been an athlete. Last thing I played in an organized way was rotational softball in high school. But my wife and I are very outdoorsy. We love hiking, and we once canoed 35 miles across the Minnesota wilderness.

      I really only follow pro-football. I have no interest in college ball. Basketball is boring because no one plays the full court press.

      I really liked science. I thought I wanted to work for NASA. I had no idea I loved history until I got out of college.

      Don’t know. I think it’s good for Dems as well as Reps for the Reps to put up a good candidate. Probably someone I haven’t heard enough about yet, like Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour. Not Huckabee. Not Palin. Not Romney. Not Trump.

      • I agree – the Reps need a good candidate. I am not against Romney, but the rest are just more of the agenda driven clones – but I live here in the bluest state, and he is a known for me. I want someone with ideas, not agendas.

        I got a survey from the Reps, and it had all the agenda questions – IE: lower taxes, de-funding abortion, and drilling for oil. How about deal with what is. Ludacris.

        It’s been a year since the oil spill in the Gulf, and there has been NO legislation from either party to prevent it from happening again. We just saw that effects of a catastrophe on nukes in Japan – again NO legislation to prevent that here either. But we have time to debate 1% of the budget.

        We need leadership, and ideas that will work. We’ve seen little of that in the last 10 years except for 9/11.
        David recently posted..Dead Religion vs Life

  5. What year did you graduate from high school?
    Me: 1982

  6. Do you think the Old Testament imagery of God commissioning genocide, mass killings, slavery, etc are accurate to His character, or the misunderstanding of a primitive people group trying to understand Him?

    My heart says the latter, my head suspects the former, and I have no idea what to do with my Bible because of it.
    David N. recently posted..The Great Outdoors

    • I’ve discussed with other people the idea that people misunderstood God in the OT. After all, Jesus’ ministry is “you’ve heard it said this way, but I tell you it’s that way.”

      Also, you have to remember that the OT covers a huge expanse of time, and it is really punctuated very rarely with these terrible events. If you added up all of the times God talks about love toward people, God’s character would be much closer to what we picture Him to be in the NT. There are also plenty of times where prophets deliver a word from God where God looks forward to the end of war, and promises that if the people would just turn back to Him, He would protect them. (So again, there is no shortage of people misunderstanding God in the OT.)

      Besides that, it’s interesting to note that Israel was never a militarily advanced nation. They just happened to occupy a scrap of land on the most important trade route in the known world, earning them the scorn of every nation that came around. Some Promised Land, right? When we talk about war, genocide, slavery, and the like, it is usually the Hebrews that are the victims.

      • One of the coolest messages I heard put it similarly to this:

        “Would you send your daughter into a house full of known rapists? No. When God rescued the Israelites from Egypt, everyone would have heard about it. They were the most powerful nation at the time. If those people would not follow the God of Israel after using nature to defeat the most powerful nation, they would never believe. He warned them in Numbers 33 that if they did not destroy those nations, then they would infect them with thier wickedness and idolatry. It would be like sending your daughter into the house full of rapists without having the cops clean the place out first.”

        I think we can agree that Israel had a lot of problems from nations they allowed to live.

        Slavery has also had a much different understanding in Israel. What we saw in the past few centuries of kidnapping and forcing work was not what Israel was to do. They were supposed to treat slaves with respect and pay them. In other words, they were more like servants we have today. If the slave was a fellow Israelite, they were to be freed in the Sabbath year.

        Most of the bad things that happened were because of the Israelites, not so much God!
        Daniel M. Klem recently posted..Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 04-17-2011

  7. Who do you think would win in a MMA type throwdown? Joel Osteen or his wife Victoria?

    Are you part of a denomination? Me? Non-denominational independent Christian church.
    katdish recently posted..Pardon me while I rant incessantly- Student protests

  8. 2 Questions

    – Do you think Christian-themed/influenced entertainment can ever have a home in pop culture or is it a round peg / square hole kind of thing? I guess more specifically, do you think Christian themes/influences can exist in that universe without being watered-down to the point where they are just vague notions instead of powerful statements?

    Me: I don’t know that they can exist, because any kind of pointed statement usually is rejected because it offends a large amount of people, but I don’t know.

    – If locked inside an entirely empty NFL stadium, do you think you could evade a velociraptor for more than 30 minutes if you were given 1 hour to properly assess the stadium and potential hiding spots? Remember, as Jurassic Park taught us, velociraptors CAN open doors.

    Me: 15 minutes for me, tops.

    • I think I could evade the velociraptor. Stadiums have lots of good hiding spots.

      The Christian entertainment thing is weird. I just don’t know. We haven’t seen it yet. It just comes off as heavy handed or completely drained of all meaning. I do enjoy the subtle Christ symbolism in things like Clint Eastwood’s films over the overtly Christian films.

  9. Do you have any Kids?

    How would you tell your 5 year old daughter about The Real Easter Story?

    I have two kids, one of which is my 5 year old daughter

    I told her the story of Easter based on a movie she loves to watch…The lion the witch and the wardrobe…and how Aslan died and came back to life….

  10. How does one visit and potentially become part of a house church? I know they exist, but I’ve never known anyone who is a part of one. We can’t look in the phone book, and there’s no building to drive by. Where do you start?

    And since that’s asking for advice, I guess I need to give you some? Totally different topic, but then I’m a Colorado Master Gardener… so my best gardening advice is to get a soil test before adding any amendments or fertilizers. You may not need them. You can read my other blog about it all at
    Leslie recently posted..Singin’ the Church Blues

    • House churches are often hiding right under your nose. I admit, a big problem is visibility. I would go to Google and search for “house churches” in your area. Most of them that aren’t cults will have a website.

  11. How do you tactfully approach a pastor to offer what hopefully will be constructive criticism about his sermons? They are super long winded and boring.

    Honestly, I haven’t figured this one out yet. I think what would be best would be to try and build a good relationship first. That might take a while so you are going to have to be patient. Then, when you have trust, you can ask said pastor about how they preach and how they prepare and what they hope people get out of their sermons.

    Following that, you might want to go the indirect route saying how you like it when people are able to say a lot in very few words.

    Yeah . . .

    • Ha! I guess I wouldn’t tell you to open with that. I think trust is a big part of it. I actually had a lady visit our church and criticize me to my face after her first visit. I felt she was out of line. But posing it as a question about how he prepares is a good thought. It puts the ball in his court. Ask him how he determines what he’ll preach about, or what illustrations he’ll use, or how many notes he writes.

  12. Which has more legs? A lion or no lion?

    Ok my actual question is… What is your favourite band/musician?

    Mine is the Frames!
    Paul Robinson recently posted..Sunday Bloody Sunday

  13. My question- If you could only read books from 5 authors for the rest of your life who would they be? (Biblical others don’t count!)

    C.S. Lewis

  14. Where’s the line between “it is not good for man to be alone” (in terms of relationships in general, not just romantic ones) and God/ Christ being sufficient in all things?

    My stab at it:
    I think that not having relationships with others, particularly with other Christians, is “not good.” But lots of things aren’t good. Sickness and disease aren’t good. Poverty is not good. Sadness and loss aren’t good. But even when things aren’t good, we can trust God in whatever circumstance that we’re in. We can be brought high and made low, we can learn the secret to being content in every circumstance because in all things Christ gives us strength.

    Do I always believe this? No. What do you think?
    Jo_of_TSN recently posted..Lamentations

    • Relationships are really important. I think the line is that even though I’m married to my wife, I’ve had to learn to “be okay, even when she is not.” This was a lesson we tried to press our special ed students to learn every day. Can I be emotionally okay, even when someone else is in crisis. I can’t be so intertwined with my wife’s lows that I’m no good for her. I have to turn to my relationship with God to pull me through when people and friends let me down.

      • I was thinking more in terms of having relationships v. not having relationships. Something I’ve mentioned before is that I haven’t been able to find a new church. Consequently I’ve been struggling with loneliness at times because community is something we “need,” in one sense, but we don’t “need” it in the sense that God gives us all we “need.”

        That’s a great point about trusting in God with respect to existing relationships, though. You need to be strong in Him in order to minister to others.
        Jo_of_TSN recently posted..Lamentations

        • I think it’s applicable to your situation. Most of us aren’t made to be alone forever, and we feel the effects of being alone. But at the same time, you can’t wallow in your aloneness. You have to come to terms with the fact that God is still with you, even when you want another person. I think it was Kierkegaard who suffered from loneliness, but he actually cultivated loneliness by isolating himself for set periods so he could discipline himself to listen to the Lord.

  15. Okay – my question for you – what kind of hints/tactics/techniques do you have for getting that “way too talkative” person to stop talking (in Bible study, prayer meeting, board meetings – WHENEVER?).

    My answer – well – I think I AM that person – so I’m trying to figure out if people are trying to get me to clam up a bit 😉

    AND – How many brothers and sisters do you have? Do you keep up with them?

    My answer – I have a “natural” brother, two step-brothers, and a half brother. I keep up with my brothers a bit – not as much as I should. More the natural and half than the steps.
    Joanne Sher recently posted..Nothing Else Needed- Monday Manna

    • I have one brother, younger.

      Every group needs a strong leader to moderate the conversation, I think. I came up with what I think is a brilliant tactic for meetings. I begin every meeting by setting a firm time when the meeting will end. If we don’t cover everything we want, too bad. It makes everyone really ensure that everything they say is important.

  16. Matt,

    What’s your favorite weird rule from Deuteronomy?

    Mine – Not boiling a baby goat (kid) in it’s mother’s milk (Deut 18:21)
    SethC recently posted..Group

  17. What is your favorite breakfast food?

    MIne is a tie between bacon and pancakes. I never eat them together, though. That much bliss should be saved for Heaven.
    Helen recently posted..A Book and Its Cover

  18. I have few questions.

    1) How long have you been married?

    Me: 1 year 7 days and 20 hours

    2) How many a hours a day or week does pastoring/preaching take up?

    Me: I’m not a pastor/preacher and am currently among the unemployed looking for work. I have a very promising interview on Wednesday! WOOT!

    3) Why are you looking for a teaching job?

    Me: I’m not looking for a teaching job, but I am interviewing for a fundraising position and have interviewed for multiple social services positions. I have a biology degree. I was pre-med and just never applied to med school but I still feel like I want to go, but I’m not sure if I’m called to go, and I always thought I would be doing mission work somewhere by now. Honestly these days I’m not completely sure where I’m “called” or “supposed to be” but I’m hoping God clarifies it for me before I turn 30.
    Carla recently posted..Schism Sunday- Civil Disobedience

    • I’ve been married five years. Pastoring takes different amounts of time for everyone. I have a pretty low maintainence church, and it’s pretty small, so it’s going to be fewer hours. But I still spend a significant amount of time preparing sermons, planning, corresponding and visiting with people. It’s a solid part time job. I’m looking for a teaching job because I’m a bi-vocational pastor, and I have a teaching job, but it is neither using me to my full potential, nor paying me to my full potential. :)

      • Ooooh, I guess I didn’t realize you were already teaching. So you’re looking for a BETTER teaching job. I see. Isn’t it funny that when you follow someone’s blog you really feel like you know that person. But we really don’t.

        Thanks for letting us get to know more of the real you! :)
        Carla recently posted..Schism Sunday- Civil Disobedience

  19. This is a question that has really been on my mind since Easter is so close.
    1) What happened to all the people that weren’t Jewish and died before Jesus came to die for our sins?
    2) If they died and went to hell; why didn’t Jesus come the day Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden so more people could be saved?

    • In Romans, Paul discusses what happens to the Gentiles who live without the law. He says that where there is no law, people are judged by the law on their hearts. He also says that where there is no law, the heavens and earth testify to God, so no one is without a witness to God’s presence. In other words, people are judged by the amount of light they have received. I find that really encouraging. C.S. Lewis begins Mere Christianity with a similar argument – that the presence of a conscience and desire to connect with the divine in every human mind is the first evidence of the divine.

      Basically, it seems to me that God is fair and just and is indeed love. People can make a conscious choice to reject God whether they read the Bible, or reject the evidence of God they have received. That may go against our popular notions of Jesus being the only way to heaven, but look at the people even in the Bible who acted in faith before the law was written. Abraham didn’t even know God’s name, but he acted in faith!

  20. Here’s one that I have been mulling over, and if anyone can answer it, I think it is you, Matt.

    ‘How many angels can stand on the head of a pin?’

    If you are off + or – 10%, then you have given me all that I ask for.

    Thanks, Matt.
    Steve Martin recently posted..Palm Sunday- 2011

  21. OK, I’m going to go serious. Can you think of any valid reason that supporting “choice” isn’t sinful knowing that the “choice” you’re advocating leads to the murder of babies?

    I can’t think of any way a Christian could honestly support abortion on any level knowing that “choice” leads to babies being killed.
    Jason recently posted..Day 107- A long- tiring weekend

    • I am with you, but it is amazing what people can convince themselves of.

      It’s funny how we discuss ancient people with their “barbaric” practices of worship and sacrifice and the “detestable” practices that God rejected, which included child sacrifice. And we look at ourselves with pride at how “civilized” we’ve become. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      • Unless, of course, they are Babylonian babies; Then, blessed is the man who swings them by the feet and dashes their brains out on a rock.

        I might be wrong about this, but I think one heck of a lot of Babylonians live in my neighborhood.


    • Abortion is just another form of “kill the kids” that Satan played in the days of Moses and Jesus.
      David recently posted..Cellphone- Glasses and Underwear

    • Hello Jason, I am also saddened by the commonality of this decision.
      That said I see abortion as a sort of self-defense mechanism for the mother. Walk with me through this metaphor – A person intrudes a home in the middle of the night. The suspected robber is shot. The home owner claims self-defense and is forgiven for the crime. Unfortunately, many women chose to defend themselves against an unborn child, seeing him/her as an intruder. He/she is a perpetrator that will irrevocably change her life, possibly even threaten it in varied degrees.
      I powerfully wish this wasn’t so often the choice, but I know that women and girls will have to be better valued and better educated the world over before this option becomes rare. It is especially rampant in societies such as China and India where girls have no value and therefore are aborted to allow for a son to be conceived instead. I am deeply saddened by the concept that a life can be screened to be “good enough” to live.

  22. Good Q&A with Jo about loneliness.

    Background Q: Do you read Seth Godin’s blog? He’s a marketer that now focuses predominantly on leadership techniques. Particularly:

    A: He’s a genius, but I usually agree and struggle to apply.

    Q: How is my generation going to make a redemptive impact in the world when we are saddled with student loan debt, medical bills, low wage jobs, etc.?

    • I love Seth Godin. I got to see him at Catalyst last year. I agree – I love what he says. I look at the world differently. But I don’t know what to do about it!

      Debt is a big problem. I know my wife and I have huge student loans that we are working to pay off. I think we need to rethink our life strategies. Not all of us are meant to go to college, but there’s a stigma against going to vocational school. Any guy could go be a master plumber and make a hundred grand a year, but we think that “success” means going to college, driving yourself in debt, and getting a piece of paper that hardly helps you get a career worth anything. So many of us don’t know what we want to do at 18, but we’re willing to risk $80,000 on a hunch.

  23. What is your favorite ice cream?

    Mine is a tie between Chocolate and Mint Chocolate Chip.
    Daniel M. Klem recently posted..Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 04-17-2011

  24. Thanks for asking me to ask!

    When you pray to God for guidance, asking a direct question – how does the answer come? Do you hear the answer in your mind? Do you just “feel right” with the direction and know that is the answer? Does the answer suddenly appear and you go – Aha! There it is. Is there another option?
    Mardra recently posted..What you can expect upon my return

    • I have never understood people who just have a “peace” about things. That’s not how I work. I need a logical answer. God speaks to me most often with realizations, or “aha!” moments of insight. This weekend, I had been praying for something, which I will talk about another time, and an opportunity presented itself after many weeks of praying, and I just jumped at it without really giving myself time to “pray myself out of it.” I knew the more time I delayed, the less enthusiasm I’d feel. Not always the best way to do things, but I felt it was an answer to prayer, and I didn’t want to squander it.

  25. Joanne Sherr took my first question, but I have come up with another one. If a person who is begging calls you out in the name of the Lord, quotes scripture to you designed to activate the “guilt giving” trigger and then tells you his “story” which you later find out to be utter nonsense, which you should have realized at the time but didn’t because, for some reason you felt led to give to the guy, can you pray for the money to turn to fire that burns in his lap and that the Lord would send down fire and brimstone?
    My answer: The closest you should get to a “fire and brimstone” prayer for the person is to ask God to convict him and use the money you gave him to bring him to Jesus.

    BTW, this happened to me and my daughter this weekend coming out of a movie. As he was telling his story about not having bus money to get home and the store he went to shop at was closed (on a Saturday? Right!) Warning bells were ringing, but I also felt led to give to him and let my daughter give him her hard earned money. While we were driving home, I realized that we were scammed and even mentioned it to my daughter. I told her that if he did scamm us, then God would deal with him (BWAHAHAHAHAH). I still REALLY hate that he used scripture (thank you so much ma’am and remember that Jesus said you might be entertaining angesl when you give to the poor) on us and a real Christian organization as part of his lie. I also feel foolish for being duped, but then, I think God would rather have me be a fool in the worlds eye’s than in His.
    tandemingtroll recently posted..Second Summit Achieved- North Mountain

    • Ugh. I hate that crap. I used to live in a part of town where I had that much more often. There were lots of bars there, so people would come into the area to drink, then come up with some sob story about not having enough “gas money” to get home. I can’t tell you how many people I helped with “gas money.” It’s garbage like that that makes me calloused toward anyone on the street. I know it’s wrong, but I’ve started to figure they’re all scam artists, and I don’t want to help any of them.

      My dad told a guy (who was wearing a very nice Starter jacket, BTW) that he could find his donation at the soup kitchen downtown, and gave him the address. The homeless man (again, wearing an expensive jacket) responded sarcastically, which started a little bit of shouting between the two of them. That homeless man was later featured on the news. He made more money than my dad did – well over $50,000 (in the 90s) and of course paid no taxes.

      Christians are called to be innocent, yet shrewd. We’re not called to get taken advantage of every time someone tries to pluck our little heartstrings. Pray for the people who’ve done it to you, and don’t let it happen again. God’s money is better spent than giving it to someone to buy booze.

  26. What did you study in college? More specifically, what was your major? What school did you go to, what degree did you end up with? Did you go to college, and then Seminary? What was your focus in Seminary?

    Me: Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Ed.
    I graduated from Eastern Montana College (since renamed Montana State University-Billings.)

    • I went to college – first Southwest Baptist University, then University of Missouri – Kansas City to study graphic design. Then I went to seminary at Midwestern Baptist to get my Masters of Divinity. I didn’t have a specific focus (like education or missions) because I felt that the emphases sacrificed too much of the core classes, like Bible, and the “practical” classes that I did take largely turned out to not be all that practical. A lot of theory, not a lot of practice.

      • How did you end up teaching? What do you teach?

        • I’m certified to teach history, but right now I’m teaching a variety of subjects at a private school – science, grammar, art, PE, yearbook. I got into teaching because a seminary prof told us about how bi-vocational ministry had blessed his life. Soon enough, bi-vocational ministry became necessary for me, and I decided that I really wanted to teach, and felt teaching dovetailed nicely with ministry.

  27. Where did you go to school, Matt? And what was your major??
    Brooklyn Cravens recently posted..Giving Up on God

  28. Matt,

    Since the Bible clearly states in so many places that God chooses us, and not the other way around, why do you think so many Christians believe that they made the decision for Jesus?

    Steve Martin recently posted..Are you really gonna tame this beast

  29. okay, this is weird. I just posted the exact same post on my blog today–ask me anything day.

    I promise I didn’t see your post before. Cross my heart. So weird. Shall I just say it…great minds think alike.
    Nicole Cottrell recently posted..Go On- Ask Me Anything…

  30. I must say that you�ve done a amazing job with this. In addition, the blog loads super quick for me on Firefox. Outstanding Blog!|