Skip to main content

I'm a Pepper, Wouldn't You Like to Be a Pepper Too?

This got me thinking about the church.  In communities of faith everywhere, there is always tension between yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  I remember serving in England many years ago, seeing pictures of hundreds of children dressed in white for a Sunday school anniversary, and hearing people long for the past.  Nostalgia is a powerful thing.  Over our 4+ years in Prosper, I could not begin to count how many times I have heard folk comment about the Sanctuary feeling like a return to home, the past, a place that may only exist in memory.  Years ago we said our niche would be traditional worship, and that emphasis has worked well for us.  But we always must be careful to remember why we offer what we offer-- not to manipulate people longing for something missing, but offering the truth of God.  The church is so much more than marketing and packaging.

The advertising industry has some of the most talented people anywhere.  They know that nostalgia is powerful.  We may feel challenged and even in despair about events around us, but repackaging our favorite drinks or snacks in familiar ways of a different era can immediately evoke a positive feeling (and a sale!).  Inside the package is something that may be delicious, but it will be temporary and fleeting.  The church can bring back the same feeling: stained glass windows, the Apostles Creed, the Lord's Prayer. But inside is an opportunity to learn and grow, to surround oneself with caring, loving, positive people who love Jesus and others, who covenant together and hold each other accountable to do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.  No matter how it is packaged, the gospel is truth-- the good news of the One the writer of Hebrews referred to as "the same yesterday, today, and forever."


Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…