Archives For open line friday

It’s time for another fun Open Line Friday, the blog post that’s dedicated to talking about topics suggested by readers.  Let the barrage of non-sequitors begin!

Rev. John: I recently heard a conversation between two youth pastors. One was complaining about their church being lazy. The other was complaining about their older members. Is there a difference between a church being tired and being lazy?

Sort of.  Old people are known to be stereotypically tired, curmudgeony, believe themselves to be deserving of respect and admiration, and immune to social norms.  That seems to excuse them from doing the brunt of the work the church needs.  That, and their insistence on being bent over on walkers.

Everyone else is just lazy, but not in the way you’d think.

Americans, in general, are one of the hardest working cultures in the world. I recently had a conversation with a native Australian who confirmed this.  The problem is we work really hard at stuff that doesn’t matter.  We work overtime at jobs we hate, so we can have more money to buy junk we won’t have time to use.  We push our kids into every last activity so they can be ‘well rounded,’ go to college, get jobs they hate, and repeat the cycle.

Then the pastor talks about a need the church has and nobody ‘has time.’ 

I spoke once with a woman whose dad was a preacher. He was forced to re-roof the church himself. Why? No one else would. Onward, Christian soldiers!

Jennifer Taylor: Why do so many Christian leaders avoid conflict instead of dealing with it head on?

Because seminary somehow turns even a 250 pound football player-turned preacher into a giant wimp. We think “spiritual” men pray and weep and hold hands, and never throw down when it comes to moral conflicts, lest they be labeled “hateful.”  A pastor may rather go into politics and just change the laws for everyone, than take care of a problem in his own church.

My dad had this problem. It was a HUGE moral problem in our church. And the people nearby painted him like the bad guy. How? Because he wasn’t acting “spiritual” enough. He wasn’t “praying” (i.e. pussyfooting) around the problem. He was dealing with it like a man. A man of action. And for the record, he was praying more than he ever had before.

Remember, pastors, Paul told the “circumcision” crowd that they might as well castrate themselves, because they were acting so ridiculously. Don’t let your church castrate you.  Pastor’s need gonads.  I don’t know how you feel about women being pastors, but if a woman is going to be a pastor, she’ll need gonads too. 

Tony C: Hey Matt, which disciple do you think had the best sense of humor?

That’s a tough one. Peter was a big dufus. Judas took himself out of the running. Thomas went around acting like an angsty teenager. John and James were too busy arm-wrestling. The one time we see Philip, he’s whining. Andrew was always passing out gospel tracts. Matthew was a tax man. Simon the Zealot? Might as well call him “Simon the Fundamentalist.”  That says it all.  That other James, wasn’t even a colorful enough person to have an original name.

That leaves Thaddeus and Bartholomew. We never see them. They wrote nothing down. My guess is they were the class clowns, judging by how they accomplished nothing of importance in their time as disciples.  If I were going to be in the Bible, I might have tried to say something important at least once.  But I’m not, so I have this blog.

Nugg33: What are the negative effects of Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc? Do they prevent us from interacting with people properly? Do they allow us to talk the talk, without actually living it?

Personally, I have experienced no negative effects from being constantly online. While I don’t get out in the sun anymore, the glow from my computer screen has imparted me with a healthy glowing tan.  Plus, the constant typing and mousing has given my wrists a very manly physique.

There is a fine line between online gaming nerds and online blogging nerds. Gaming nerds are up all hours of the night, talking smack with strangers, eating Cool Ranch Doritos, accomplishing nothing of consequence, drifting through life with little purpose, or prospects for girlfriends.

I, on the other hand…dang it.

That does it for another Open Line Friday. But I need your thoughts in order to do another. Tell me what’s on your mind, on your blog, whatever. Either send a comment, or an email to

Open Line Friday! The experiment begins today. I let you decide what I’ll talk about! I got some crazy good responses to my request for topics to talk about today. I’m covering a few today. Some I’m saving for another Friday, and one or two, I just knew I’d have to write a full blown post on them.

Thank you to everyone who responded. If you don’t see your name here today, you just might on another day! Be sure to keep the ideas flowing to me!

Rhode Island Alissa: What’s a crazy thing that’s happened to you in your work place? From working in a mall selling pet hermit crabs at a kiosk to working in a call center for a culinary school where 75 year old men call and ask how to peel an egg for their sandwich, I cant be the only one out there with ridiculous work stories. No, you aren’t the only one with ridiculous work stories.

Let’s see. I met a hooker face to face for the first time while delivering phone books one summer. I have been an off and on freelance graphic designer. One of my most memorable projects was for a women’s retreat, inviting attendees to “escape into Jesus’ alluring love” (i.e. pretending to be on a romantic Sicilian vacation, filled with sensual delights…with Jesus.) It was not my best project, mainly because I kept projectile vomiting onto my computer in disgust. But honestly, the job I have now (besides pastoring) is teaching special education, and it is the craziest, most challenging, educational job I’ve ever had.

Lots of people have better stories than me. There’s a website that’s part of my morning routine that’s full of head-slapping work stories: Not Always Right.

Michelle@Graceful: I wrote about a sermon my pastor gave on my blog about a month ago. And then I had a post-blog panic. I ended up backpedaling in an apology to my pastor, who was incredibly gracious, in a subsequent post the next day. Do you ever get the post-blog panic?

Not panic, but always anxiety. I’m always anxious to get the first couple of comments rolling in on a post, so I can see if something’s going to go over well or not. Not that I plan to retract my words if I’m misunderstood. I’ve only gone back and retracted one sentence of this entire blog. That said, I don’t believe I’ve ever implicated personal acquaintances, so I don’t really worry about hurt feelings.

Frankly, I read your criticism of the sermon, and it sounded legit to me. I’m way tougher on my pastor, and my pastor is…me!

Laura Robins: Is it just me, or maybe just in good old England, but does anyone else have “Christian O’Clock”? If in doubt about what time any kind of evening Christian event is happening, guess on half seven and you’ll never be wrong.

There’s got to be some kind of internal Christian clock, although I think yours is a wee bit cockneyed, probably since you’re on Greenwich Mean Time. Anyway, the Christian clock must be another gift of the Holy Spirit. However, my old church wasn’t Pentecostal, so our internal clocks were still bound in the flesh, and our youth group met on Tuesday instead of the universally agreed upon Wednesday night.

However, I am sanctified enough to have recieved a revelation from God on the holiest time for Sunday morning worship:

8:00: Ungodly.
Sunrise: Only on Easter, and there better be pancakes.
8:30: Why? Unless you are so old that your life expectancy is literally until 9:30, there is no cause for this.
9:00: That’s breakfast time, not church time.
9:30: The absolute worst. Too late to be early, too early to be normal. If you have church at this time, God will not be there.
10:00: Maybe if you’re Catholic and don’t want to miss the lunch buffet.
10:15: Why the odd time? Was everyone just showing up 15 minutes late to miss the praise medley anyway?
10:30: The perfect, most godly time for church.
10:45: You’ve lost me. You are doomed to stand in horrendous lines at the lunch buffet afterward. Plan on skipping lunch altogether if you have an altar call.

Joel Walkley: A lot of church’s advertising campaigns use the line “This ain’t your grandma’s church.” I ask “Why ain’t this grandma’s church, and what is with hating on grandma?”

You make a good point. grandmas have lots of positive aspects, including always being glad to see you, homemade food, cheek pinching, and always believing that the sermon that was just given was the best she’s ever heard.

The down side of grandmas in church generally seems to be awful fake plants decorating the place and perfume wafting around that came from the same store as the fake plants. You get too many grandmas hanging out in one place, and it starts to look and smell like a Hobby Lobby, which is no good. And that’s what churches think is important to emphasize about themselves. We have real plants, and everyone wears Axe body spray.

Brett Barner: Is honesty always the best policy? There are lots of questions that seem a little white lie would be a better answer than the truth. “Do I look fat?” “How awesome is my brother’s Christian punk rock band?” “What do you think of the shepherd’s pie I made for potluck?”

Absolutely, honesty is not always the best policy, in the sense that you should not tell the whole truth. Pastors have to master the art of not telling the whole truth when the truth would only serve to hurt someone for no good reason. I learned from the best. My dad, a pastor, in his bachelor years was given a homemade chocolate nativity set by a female admirer in the church. Was it tacky, distasteful and creepy? Yes, yes, yes. Did he tell her that? No, he kept it in a box, unable to bring himself to melt baby Jesus down to make Christmas candy, until my mother unearthed it and irreverently threw it away.

That’s it for this week! What say you? What’s the perfect time for church? What’s your best work story? Is honesty the best policy? Be sure to submit your ideas for the next Open Line Friday! Either send a comment, or an email to