Thursday, March 29, 2012

Convenience trumps theology...

I cannot remember the context of the conversation, but one little off-the-cuff remark during a class has been constantly replaying in my head.

"Today, convenience tends to trump theology."

It makes me start to wonder about what parts of my faith are driven more by what's convenient to me rather than my theology. Maybe it's due to under developed theology. Maybe it's my upbringing. Maybe Hollywood did it. Maybe it's a little bit of everything.
  • We want a church service time that works best for us.
  • We want an environment that makes us comfortable.
  • We want small group on nights that work around our other events.
  • We read our Bibles when we have extra time.
  • We eat crackers and drink a thimble of grape juice for Communion.
Can you add to the list?

The obvious question I'm left with is whether it is even possible for many of us who have been become convenience addicts to become more theologically minded when it comes to faith and life?

I'm not convinced that following Jesus was meant to be convenient. (Even though I must admit that I would like it to be.)

But I have a strong suspicion that a convenient faith actually does serious damage to the ability to have faith. 

Maybe convenience has done more harm to the church than we thought it would?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Goodbye CD...

While driving the other day it dawned on me that I can hardly recall the last CD I actually purchased in its entirety. I know I received a couple live Dave Matthews Band CD's at Christmas, but I don't remember when I bought one on my own.

Does anyone, besides my brother-in-law, still buy CD's anymore?

What was the last full CD you bought?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I like TV...

I dislike commercials. They eat up too much time. When you consider the fact that a 30 minute time slot only contains 22 minutes of show time and a 60 minute time slot will contain only 42 minutes, it's obvious that be removing the commercials one could actually watch more TV and thus be more productive.

And by "more productive", I really should add the phrase "at watching more episodes of select TV shows."

As such I rarely watch live TV unless it is for sports or just having some background noise. For the most part TV viewing in our house comes in 3 forms:
  • Internet - There are countless websites that will provide TV for free via downloads or online viewing. Some provide better quality than others, but for the most part if you know which rocks to look under, you can find most shows on the web.
  • DVR - Record it and watch it later. I have even been known to record my favorite sports teams in action so that I can actually get a few more hours of sleep on a weekend. (Some will question whether I am a true fan, but I state I'm a better fan when I'm not grouchy because I've lost precious sleep.)
  • Library - So much stuff for free! The major drawback to this system is that most shows have a waiting list that puts you under a time constraint for actually viewing the whole season. With some proper time management (otherwise known as procrastinating things that you should actually be getting done) you can overcome this complication.
I'll highlight just a few of the shows that have received my viewing attention as of late. I'll make the obvious disclaimer that not all of the shows on this list are, um, family friendly. Don't judge me too harshly.
  • Justified - This is hands down my favorite show of the past couple of years. A US marshal returns to his hometown in Kentucky to battle the redneck criminals. (This is a gross simplification of a fairly elaborate and draw out storyline.) If I had to recommend one hour long show for you to watch, it would be this one.
  • Community - Funniest. Show. On. TV. Witty, original and always good for some classic pop culture references.
  • The Walking Dead - Zombie survival story. How can you go wrong?
  • Miranda - A little British comedy of a woman awkwardly looking for love.
  • The Killing - A remake of a Danish show, this dark crime drama based in Seattle is an attempt to uncover the complex back story of a recent murder. Season 2 starts next month.
  • Whitechapel - A 3 episode British show about the hunt for a Jack the Ripper copycat killer. I just realized this was only season 1 of 3. Back to the library...
  • How I Met Your Mother - This show has been a staple for us but I admit I'm growing restless with their inability to actually progress with the overall storyline. I think they are past due to introduce the actual "mother".

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Youth Pastor Hypocrite...

One of the questions I'm in the process of asking myself is whether my next ministry position will be with students. I've been a professional youth pastor for almost 12 years and I have immensely enjoyed it. It has brought me great joy. It has challenged me. It has helped me develop as a leader. There never seems to be a dull moment. There is so much to love about what I have been able to do.

But I now find myself asking if it is time for a change.

Aside from a brief dream of working behind the camera in the film industry, I have not imagined doing anything aside from student ministry. A few years ago I was approached by a church who wanted to bring me on staff in a role focused on worship and arts. I was promptly made aware that I was not being released from student ministry. I didn't feel like I was "done".

I was the guy who said he was a lifer. I gave my buddies a hard time when they moved on from working with students and started taking on different church leadership roles. I cringed every time one more youth pastor jumped ships to the higher paying, more respectable roles of "anything but youth" pastor.

And now I feel like a hypocrite.

I have friends encouraging me to stick it out. They say that I have much to still offer the student ministry world.

I have other friends encouraging me to try a new role because of what they see in me. They think I'm capable of something different.

Now that I find myself in a perpetual state of limbo (oh the joys of being a student) I thought I would spend some time trying to figure out which direction I would go. I have yet to figure out the answer yet. In fact, it's very hard for me to contemplate life outside of student ministry. But at least I'm asking questions like this:
  • Where will I grow the most?
  • Am I doing what's easy and comfortable?
  • What have I been hardwired for?
  • What's the best fit for my family?
 Anything else you think I should be asking myself?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Numbers...

Summing up life by the numbers:
35 days of unemployment
2,548 pages read.
12,210 words typed.
3 papers aced. (Pause to pat myself on the back because I have NEVER done that before!)
2 classes.
15 days away from home.
3 Provinces traveled.
2 for 9 on Roll up The Rim.
3 movies watched.
1 TV series completed.