Monday, September 27, 2010

Shut Your Mouth

I know "Shut Your Mouth" isn't a title anyone expected in the title of one of my churchy blogs, but I said it.  I also know that probably most of my readers will think I am being funny or dramatic or something, but I am not.

I am increasingly tired of a culture that wants to tear everyone down.  We wrap it up as "good clean fun" and "friendly teasing" and all that.  I call bull-crap.  There is nothing good or clean or fun or friendly about it.  It's mean and nasty and I'm done with it.  I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I am going to give you all permission to hold me accountable and set me straight.  And if you can't handle controlling yourselves, I have one simple message:

Shut your mouth and read 1 Thessalonians 5.

Be self-controlled (verse 8).  Encourage one another and build each other up (11).  Respect those who work hard among you (12).  Hold them in the highest regard.  Live in peace (13).  Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone (14).  Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else (15).  Be joyful always (16).  Pray continually (17).  Give thanks in all circumstances (18).  Avoid every kind of evil (22).

Is that too tough?  Can't manage that?  Then just shut your mouth.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Seven Things I Hate About Church

I have absolutely no reason to submit this post now, which makes it a great time to do it.  This is something I wrote quite a while ago when discussing why so many men in America dislike going to church.  Enjoy!      -mike

In all honesy, I am a man that does not really like church. (I have been known to say things like, "I love Jesus, but I am no fan of his leprous bride.") I cannot speak for everyone, obviously, but here are some things that I do not like about church:

1. People pretend to care. I do not honestly mind if they care about me or not, but the fraud bothers me.
2. I am asked personal questions by people I barely know.
3. People assume that I am a hugger just because they are.
4. We sing songs that have no value in either the music or the lyrics.  These songs are just lousy music, and only a Christian could love them (because they are vaguely spiritual).
5. "Testimonies" are offered that are not really testimonies at all. Sometimes this comes in the form of someone who talks for minutes about how terrible their life is and then conclude with something spiritual, such as, "but I know God will bring me through" or something, which would be a lot more meaningful if the person had not first convinced us that their problems are the focus of their life. Others are incoherent altogether. Some are merely some person who for whatever reason want to share the lonely thought that has ventured into their head before it dies of loneliness. I am embarrassed for the person giving the "testimony" and I am embarrassed for myself for having listened to it.
6. Too many sermons are focused on proving the preacher's eloquence or academic skills, rather than on delivering the Word of God with authority.
7. If you allow yourself to be open to people in the church, often times those good Christian people will take the opportunity to hurt you in ways you would have never imagined.

Emphasis on number seven.