Are You Being Served?

In my last post, “Feed Me,” I wrote that comments about “being fed” need a serious cultural reinterpretation. But I really don’t think “being fed” is the issue for most people, even if it feels like the issue at the time. And even if all sorts of evidence and rationale are used to make it the issue. No, I would argue that in most cases there’s something much deeper going on. Like, maybe it’s not so much a matter of whether we’re being fed, but whether we’re being served. Think about it: It sounds much more selfish and greedy to leave a Church with the excuse that we’re not being served there, rather than to claim we’re not being fed, right? But if we’re honest, that’s often the issue. If we

Does God Know You?

If you’ve been around church very long, you’ve probably been asked some version of this question: "How did you come to know God?" Serving on the staff of a Christian college ministry, I often ask students to tell me their “spiritual story” of coming to know God. What I hear in response frequently begins with a timeline of church involvement — “Well, I went to the such-and-such church when I was little …” — followed by a "but then ..." “But then my parents got a divorce.” “But then I just lost interest.” “But then we had a falling out with the pastor there.” At this point, they haven’t really told me anything about coming to know God. Jesus offers me a much better plan. He promises to make

Feed Me

It’s a “mic-dropping” statement; one that seems to trump every agenda, rationale or argument. On the surface, it might seem unassailable. You hear it most often in conversations among believers discussing their level of satisfaction with their church. If they’re content, they might say, “I go there because I get fed.” If they’re not? “I left there because I wasn’t being fed.” We owe it to ourselves to go where the “food” is plentiful if we believe that the point of church is to seat us in a spiritual booster chair, fill our stomachs and send us home ready for a nap. Why would anyone choose to attend someplace where they have to be responsible for their own spiritual nourishment, when the pro

The Good and Beautiful Vision

I recently heard a fascinating interview of a person relating their experiences on the island of Madagascar. The adventurer was wistfully recalling the quaint habits of the islanders, how exotic it is that the natives do things the same way they’ve been done for centuries. But late in the interview, she reluctantly admitted that this ages-old way of doing things, rooted in ancestor worship, is a major hindrance to development workers who are trying to address systemic issues that keep the people in poor health and poverty. In a way, the problem boils down to a matter of limited imagination and vision. Because the islanders focus only on the way things had “always” been done and are bound by

A New Reality

Three-year-olds are the undisputed world champions of stubborn resistance. Years ago on an early spring evening, our daughter Clary was playing in her room when I interrupted to say it was time to get ready for bed. She looked out her window and saw that it wasn’t yet dark outside. Then she stared at me as if she thought I was on crack and said, “No, it’s not.” I reminded her that lately, the sun had been shining a little longer every day; at this particular moment, it was finally stretching into bath time. But she was skeptical. As she scooped up her Beanie Babies to put them away (mostly just to humor me), she looked out the window again and asked if I was really sure about the time. Then

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