Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Podcast recommendation...

I've been overdosing on podcasts now that I have an iPod. Some are good (Dogwatch Social Club Cigar Show). Some are classics that should just be treasured (A Prairie Home Companion). And some just entertain me more than I can tell you. One of those is called We're Both Right. It's 2 guys talking about news, music, movies, and anything else that comes to mind.

I don't know what it's about half the time, but it always makes me laugh. And occasionally makes me think. Check it out!

Am I bitter toward the church?

As some of you know, I left a traditional church pastorate a number of months ago. It was totally the right thing to do, because God is calling us in a different direction. One of the reasons I left was because I see how often "church" actually keeps people from experiencing God's presence in their lives.

I don't want to go into the details of it here, because I've talked about it a little before. (Like here.) But one thing I do know, I don't want to be a bitter burn-out. It's too easy to see the weaknesses in an institution, and then blame the people in the institution for everything that's wrong. But the fact is, the majority of traditional churches are pastored by good men and women who love God and want to serve Him. They really want to see people reached and God glorified.

I still see traditional church structures as fatally flawed. And, I have a feeling I'll have more to say about this in future posts. But, I just wonder if anyone else is thinking about how to keep from developing bitter feelings when traditional church has shown itself to be lacking...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A blog I just gotta share!

I just ran across this blog, and it cracked me up. It's called "Songs in Haiku," and it's just classic rock songs distilled into haiku form. It's really inventive and fun. Enjoy!

Joining the digital age!

Well, the Mighty Mrs. J and I have gone all high-tech and fancy--we both got iPods! I know what you're thinking. "That's really big news--about 5 years ago." OK, we're just a little late on the gadget bandwagon.

What finally convinced to take the plunge was a conversation I had with one of the guys we church with. One Sunday when we were at his house BBQing and worshiping, I mentioned the great music that was playing in the background. He showed me that it was all coming from his little iPod Nano that he had plugged into his house's intercom system. He said his family really enjoyed traveling with music, books, Bible teaching, whatever--all on their iPod.

Now the thought of carrying audio books everywhere we go was too much for me and the Mighty Mrs. J. We had a Costco gift card, and it just covered two of the 2GB Nanos. So we took the plunge.

I think I've created a monster. The Mighty Mrs. J just spent the better part of the afternoon downloading songs and podcasts and whatever she could from iTunes. And I've got mine loaded up too. (Maybe I should post what I'm listening to on the side of this blog. If I can figure out how to do that.)

To show you just how spiritual I am, I should tell you I have Christian music from Chris Tomlin (the album "Arriving" is awesome), Terry Clark (I love his music!), and several old gospel quartets. Of course, I also have several episodes of the "Dogwatch Social Club Cigar Show". They might not be quite as Holy Spirit-inspired, but they are good for my soul.

It's good to be part of the 21st century...

p.s.--The pic is of the Mighty Mrs. J corrupting the World's Sweetest Toddler by letting her listen to the iPod. It won't be long before all the kids want one...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Focus, people, FOCUS!

DisneyGirl is probably the most imaginative girl I know. She's constantly got scenes playing out in her head. Either she's in the dark woods, or in the ocean, or at Disneyland. And she's some character in the movie in her head. I'll call for her, and she'll say, "I'm not DisneyGirl. I'm Baby Deer, Spotted Deer." Or she's Little Doggy Puppy. It's hard to keep up with who she is at any given moment.

I love how creative and passionate she is about her pretend world. The only time it gets annoying is when the Mighty Mrs. J or I want her to do something. She is so far into her world that she never even hears us.

I have a real dilemma. She needs to listen when we call her. But I don't want to ruin her imaginative spirit. I also don't want her to grow up too fast.

I guess I really don't have much of a dilemma at all. She'll have decades to be an adult, and do adult things like come when she's called. She'll only be the world's cutest 4year-old for a short time. I hope that instead of being annoyed, I can just enjoy how inventive and imaginative she is. And I hope she never loses that part of her. Even when she's all growed up....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How much structure does worship require?

I just read a great little post from Sandra Carawan at the fairly new blog, Selah. It's about structure in worship. I know many churches have a pretty set script for how worship is supposed to go. Even the Holy Spirit would have a hard time breaking through such tight controls over the proceedings.

I guess we need some direction in our worship. Even in the group I church with, a couple of people always have a few songs picked out for us to begin with. We usually start with some of the prepared songs.

But I think we need less structure than we think. In our group, it isn't long before someone just leads out in a song that's on their heart. Soon everyone who knows the song joins in. Then someone else, maybe even a kid, will call out another song. Or someone will quote a scripture, or pray. It's really free, and it's open, and somehow it works. Even with no one really in charge.

I guess more than structure, I have a problem with the concept of leaders and followers in worship. In most churches I've seen, there's a real distinction between the people up front leading worship, and the people in the audience being led in worship. I think that distinction is really damaging to the church.

I think the more biblical approach to worship is in 1 Corinthians 14, where it talks about everyone coming together, and each person having a song, or a scripture, or a teaching. If everyone is involved, there's no leaders and no audience. It's just one people, coming before God in worship.

Tat doesn't mean doesn't visit churches where they have a highly structured worship. It just means that I don't think God intended for us to be passive observers of worship or teaching. He wants all of us to be actively involved, leading and being led, teaching and being taught...