Where to Start

This update was, in reality, supposed to have come out in three separate parts, but, due to a mix of getting a new car, a bunch of hockey games, and a unhealthy dose of procrastination, they’ve been rolled into this self-proclaimed masterpiece.  Now, from experience with reading various articles in the past, everyone loves numbered lists.  So let’s start at the latest one.


1.  People


Thanks to my awesome upbringing I’ve been privileged with a lot of things: a functional morale compass, respect for my superiors, a good head on my shoulders, and an able body underneath.  So, for many of my earlier years I looked upon some people with somewhat unnecessary judgment.  For a while I couldn’t understand why people were obese, homeless, or just plain incompetent.  And when I say a while, it’s a number surprisingly close to my current age.  Thanks to a little prodding from the only website I read from, I began thinking about these people I had kind of looked down my nose at.  Let’s look at obese people.  I frequently catch myself thinking about the impossibility of ever letting myself get fat.  While I constantly joke with the boys about how there’s a real good chance that, bearing the continued diet of straight pasta and chicken, I’ll probably inflate like meat balloon.  Now, I’m consciously taking a more liberal approach.  It’s pretty obvious that people don’t develop addictions over night, most people don’t wake up one day, stumble into the bathroom, rub their eyes and scream at the intruder in the mirror.  I can imagine that the majority of the people I see sleeping in downtown Portland, probably didn’t intend to be here.


So, what I’m getting at is before we jump to conclusions about a person’s character based on things we see.  Know this, you don’t know.  You don’t know anything, at all, about that person.  Except for those Jersey Shore people, lost cause.


2.  Religion


My family (sans Sizzlor) was in town this week, so my parents and I took the opportunity to sit in on the Mars Hill Portland church service.  The service was great, if a little long, but still exactly what I needed.  A nice serving of the Gospel and a couple sing-a-longs.  If you’re not familiar with the Mars Hill churches, the head church is located in Seattle.  They’ve experienced miraculous growth in the last decade and are now moving across the country.  The pastor at this particular church is Mark Driscoll, an innovative speaker, published author, and a pretty inspirational person in general.  His sermon was broadcast into the church via satellite, an awesome invention for up-and-coming churches.  During the online sermon I noticed that Pastor Mark was wearing True Religion Jeans.  Which, from a few keystrokes and couple clicks, let me know that are in the range of around $300 a piece.



Now, before I say anything, I’ll say this, I don’t know the situation, be it a gift, awesome discount, etc.  I just think that might give off a few wrong signs about humility.  Purely an opinion.


Now, seeing this set fire to my neurons.  It’s an awesome feeling, thoughts tie themselves together, theories manifest, that kinda thing.  Somewhere in the mess I started thinking about the “Occupy X” thing that’s sweeping the nation and how their protesting all over the world.  That was when the local pastor mentioned the difference between following an organized ideology or following the Gospel.  The phrase “organized ideology” made me think of one thing “Big Church.” A lot of non-religious people have given me accounts of times they’ve tried to go to church and had been turned off by the feeling of awkwardness that comes with being a newcomer.


Of course, when I’m arguing these points I’ve got a bit of an obvious bias towards religiousness.  But, in my opinion, I know and believe that there’s an eternal life waiting for me on the other side, and that everyone around me deserves to know.  The one thing I question is if the people trying to sell it are doing it the right way.  I remember for Marketing class that a customer’s real value is his loyalty, so there’s no reason to get everyone out to church one time then reject the whole thing and go back to their lives.  The end game is to change people’s hearts, not give them anecdotes about “Some church I went to last month…”

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One Response to Where to Start

  1. Bill says:

    Rachel Held Evans (I would describe her as an activist evangelical Christian – she’s not shy about challenging people’s beliefs) is not very impressed with some aspects of Mark Driscoll’s behaviour: http://rachelheldevans.com/mark-driscoll-bully
    Of all the things turning people away from churches, outdated bigoted views have to be high on the list.

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