Is church just another business?

That’s not a new question. Several months ago, everyone laughed at a video that asked “What if church was run like Starbucks?” A couple of years ago, I blogged about my irritation with churches calling their sanctuaries “worship centers” which I think makes churches sound more like WalMarts than places of worship.

But what if it’s deeper than that? What if churches really are run like Starbucks? It’s not just “Worship Center” that has infected our thinking of church. What if we aren’t worshippers, but just cogs in this massive, churning, capitalistic machine that we call “church?”

Today, I’ve got three words, seemingly harmless, that have become so trendy that they have changed what we think church is. If we want to believe that the church is more noble than a mere money making scheme, then we need to banish these words from our vocabularies.

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Who’s Inspiring You Today?

September 30, 2011

Happy Friday, everyone!

Holy crap, I’m working over time just to make sure my ridiculous twenty part job (which I’m still thankful for) is covered while I’m gone next week to the Catalyst conference.  I’m almost going to need a vacation after this.

But I’m excited because it’s my third time to go to the Catalyst, and the Bloggers Meetup on Wednesday night.  There’s still some tickets left, so if you are going to Catalyst, I’d love to see you at the Meetup!

One reason I love events like this is because I find other people so much more interesting than myself.  A huge variety of people are going to be there, including Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, Scott Williams, Ron Edmonson, Lindsey Nobles, Bryan Allain, John Saddington, Justin Wise and Alece Ronzino.  Plus, I’m gonna get to meet some of my blog friends, including Jeremy Statton, Darrell Vesterfelt and Ally Spotts.  Geez, just in that group, you’ve got world travelers, engineers, prison wardens, surgeons, authors and publicists.  And I’m just Matt, a small fish in a big pond, a fact that I’m reminded of every time one of you comments on my blog.

This is also what I call my “continuing education,” my time to hear from people who inspire me.  I always discover brilliant people I never knew existed, but now can’t live without.

So, on this Friday, I’ve got a really easy question for you.  Tell me who’s inspiring you today.  Whose books are you reading, whose messages are you listening to, whose wisdom are you emulating, whose blog are you stalking?  Who’s rocking your face, melting your mind, or just making you pee your pants in excitement?

Epic Childhood Battles

September 28, 2011

Kids fight…a lot.

That’s no secret.  Put two children together for five minutes and some stupid dispute is bound to break out.  The wee ones of the world may not be as pure of heart as we like to think.

Bryan Allain reminded me of this when he blogged a couple of days ago about the five dumbest arguments his kids have had.  I don’t have kids.  But I was one at one time.  And so was my brother.  And we argued…a lot.

It’s been ten years since my brother and I have been under the same roof.  Since then, we’ve both found women we’d rather argue with than each other.  But every time my wife and I have some “important” argument over something like potatoes or a lamp, it brings back some sweet, sweet memories of all the battles my brother and I fought.  Sure, we found lots of times to team up, but it was in the heat of epic battles that our relationship was forged.

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Two-thousand years ago, Jesus praised poor people and condemned rich people.  He told parables of rich men who wound up in hell, and told a wealthy man to sell everything he had.

Today, unemployment is chronically high.  The stock market is unstable.  Thousands of homes are foreclosed, banks shut, and billions of dollars lost.  More people than ever now live in poverty.  Most of us became a little bit poorer because of the recession.  Some of us became much poorer.

But on the upside, can we look at Jesus’ words to the wealthy and poor, and think that maybe we’ve become a little bit holier because of our decreased wealth?  Now that we are a bit poorer, a tad more downtrodden, maybe we are more righteous in the eyes of God…

That would be great for me.  The poorer you’ve become, the better off you are with God.

Too bad it doesn’t work that way.  In fact, many of us today may be worse off with money, and with God.

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Traveling Blog: Kathy Richards

September 23, 2011

Attention, faithful readers!

Today, I have the fantastic opportunity to be guest blogging on Kathy Richard’s blog.  Kathy has been an amazing blog-friend and encouragement to me since my very earliest days of blogging.  No joke.  She’s one of my longest running fans, and I can say I’m one of her biggest fans.  She also happens to write an amazingly funny, random, sarcastic blog that you will enjoy.

For my guest blog, I decided that such a momentous occasion required that I write about the most profound, amazing, wonderful person I’ve ever known, the person I love most in the whole wide world…

…me.

I know you can’t wait!  So hop over to Kathy’s blog, leave a comment there, and start snooping around her archives.

Yesterday, my wife and I had a date.

We like to schedule “us” time on a regular basis.  Every couple has to have time together when you’re not doing laundry.  I even had the date marked in my phone’s calendar.

I drove hurredly through traffic to be on time.  Our date appointment was set for 8 am.  Kind of early for romance, I know.  But even at that early hour, our date destination was already packed with couples…and a few ladies flying solo.  Most everyone was dressed up, the guys in shirts and ties, ladies in dresses or slacks.

This was our first 8 am date.  It was also our first date at a fertility clinic.  Hubba, hubba.

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