Dan White Jr. and those Ragamuffin Christians

Consumerism turned the Church into a service provider:

“I want good preaching.”
“I want amazing worship.”
“I want great kid’s programs.”

Would we go to Church if it was just a bunch of ragamuffin Jesus-followers gathering around a table, trying to love God and love neighbors?

Pastor Dan White Jr. on twitter

I just want to say, in posting this I don’t have anything to say about the church itself – this was convicting to me because if I’m being 100% honest I don’t know if I’d be open to this idea of church that Pastor Dan talks about here. I like the production and the kids program and the comfy chairs. If someone invited my family to their actual house on Sunday morning instead of a building I’d have a hard time accepting it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m cynical or if I enjoy the trappings of the larger western church but there’s definitely some things to consider here because it’s possible to miss out on something amazing because of the “I want’s” and totally disregard the “I need’s.”

I do know that I want to be a person that’s thankful for these things. I’ve been guilty of saying things like “the message was good but the worship wasn’t great” or “the worship was great but the message was kinda eh.” I’ve heard stuff like said a lot as well. I don’t want to be that kind of person. I just want to be thankful for the amazing experiences I do get to have. I want to be open to the ragamuffin invitation that might be waiting around the corner. 🙌

Pete Scazzero on Assumptions

“Every time I make an assumption about someone without confirming it, I am at risk for believing a lie about this person.”

@petescazzero

This is from a screenshot I’ve had in the *folder of ideas* for a long time. It’s interesting because this quote can kinda go in both directions; I read it meaning not to make negative assumptions about a person but really it can apply to positive assumptions as well. It makes me think about celebrity culture and how people can seem to have it all together but really we are just believing an assumption that’s been made about them. In that same way, it’s easy for me to assign negative assumptions to a person that acts a certain way when really they could be doing to most natural thing that a person in their circumstance would be expected to do but since I don’t know about them…I made an assumption…

Jon Acuff on Regrets

“Regret that you didn’t start your thing earlier is a great distraction from starting it now. Those years are gone. Leave them where they fell and grab today with all your might. Mourning what could have been always steals the joy from what is.”

@jonacuff on Twitter

Hey – it’s been a month or so since I’ve made a Jon Acuff quote so here we go! 

I’ve had this tweet in my screenshot folder for a while and it definitely has an Ecclesiastes 11:4 vibe to it:

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant.”

I like how explicit Jon is in the quote here – he could have said “that time is gone” or “those days are gone” but he said “those *years* are gone.” I know I’ve spent time beating myself up for the actions my younger self took. Years not days have been spent mourning and what a waste it truly is. I appreciate the call that I can work on “my thing” today and leave all those other years in the past. 

We can watch the wind forever but if we don’t plant we never reap.

Tim Keller on Ministry and Marriage

“No form of ministry is more important than my marriage and family.”

Tim Keller from Twitter.

I’m not “in ministry.” I haven’t experienced the stress and the problems and the loneliness that a lot of people experience while trying to serve their calling from the Lord. I don’t support my family from sketchy sermons money and I’m hesitent to do so because I like the freedom to be able to walk away if need be. 

I have no idea how to solve the problems of ministry service but for me this statement is the truth. No form of ministry is more important than my marriage and family. I love what I do here but if it caused me to start missing basketball games and dates to Chick-fil-a then it would be time to scale down or pack it up entirely. 

It’s been said before; there’s a lot of people that can serve the needs of the people but my wife only has one husband and my kids only have one father and I’m it. 

Encourage Fiercely

When you offer critique, do so gently.

When you offer encouragement, do so fiercely.

@scottsauls

I’ve had a number of Pastor Scott’s tweets in the queue but this one always just sticks with me. If you want to know how to bless someone today just encourage them. Say a really kind thing to someone on social media. Tip your food server way above what you would usually tip. Text a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Instead of saying “I’ll pray for you” say “Would you mind if I prayed with you? Right now?” Do this without any strings or conditions on the other person. This behavior begets more of this behavior. Seriously.

I would humbly like to extend this tweet and say, “if you feel like you must critique someone, maybe forget the critique and encouragement them instead. Fiercely.”

Kingdom Normal

This was a tweet from @deaninserra . I had to retool it a bit to fit here and I hope I didn’t misconstrue any of his points! Here’s the original in it’s entirety:


I think part of Christian discipleship is helping people redefine “normal.”

The things you see in this world might seem normal, but it is exactly that, a “normal” for the gods of this world, not the kingdom of God.

-Your parents screaming at each other isn’t normal.
-A life of greed isn’t normal. 
-A professing Christian being detached from the local church isn’t normal.
-Covering up abuse for the powerful isn’t normal.
-Functional alcoholism isn’t normal.

There is a new normal for anyone who is in Christ. New creations. Old gone, new here.

Teach a new normal. Kingdom normal.

This resonated with me so much. Now, I don’t want to say that to be a “normal Christian” requires you to be perfect but I think it does require an action to rewire the things you use to tolerate before you were in Christ. Parents who scream at each shouldn’t be content to just live in that state – that’s not the design. Greed, consumption, and living on the hedonistic treadmill is not the prescribed way to live based on any verse I’ve ever read. And on and on.

I want to be careful here because I think institutionally we go down a dark hole when we try to figure how to adjust peoples behavior at large. A.) I’m not sure it works and B.) it leads to “good stats” while people who suffer are churned through the machine and spit out.

But the heart change described here is so refreshing. Instead of taking the “normal” things of this world and making them ours we redefine them the way that they’re supposed to be. Kingdom normal.

A Life of Sacrifice

“The Lord has called us not to a Sunday Event, but to a life of sacrifice.” @myronpierce

It’s easy to go on Christian autopilot – especially when you go to a large church. You can check the box, attend the Sunday service, pray before meals, tithe right at 10%, and you’re still in the club. I get it, sometimes there’s a season for that. Sometimes it’s all you can do to walk in that building once a week. If that’s you, this message isn’t for you.

But I think Pastor Myron touches on something here. I think it’s helpful sometimes to see not what you’ve gained from Jesus, but what you giving up for Him. If it’s consistently “nothing” that my be something to look into.

If you haven’t seen the video of Pastor Myron’s story I highly encourage you to tap through his bio and check it out! Powerful stuff. 

America and Racism

“The idea that America has been systematically racist is an idea entirely compatible with scripture’s depiction of sin. But it’s entirely incompatible with the story America tells itself. And a lot of Christians have believed America.” @kaitlynschiess on Twitter

I want to get in the habit here of posting things here that are not necessarily controversial but that address something to think deeper about. I drew this out because when I saw this tweet from Kaitlyn I stopped scrolling and spent some time thinking about the implications of what she said. 

I know this argument could quickly be whittled down to someone saying “CRT” but I don’t think that’s entirely the point. The point I pulled from this is that we should be honest about the stories we tell about the institutions we hold dear. I think our Christian culture is to hide the things we feel shame about within our organizations when they should be brought to the light. I’m no expert on unity but I do know it certainly doesn’t happen by quieting people who have been hurt by a system.

I have a lot of respect for this country. I’m thankful that I’m here, I’ve been afforded all the opportunity in the world, and there’s no other place I’d rather be. I just want that same experience for everyone and I don’t think we’re there yet. 

Anyway, Kaitlyns work on the @holypostpodcast is great and she posts a lot of interesting thoughts on twitter interspersed with tweets about pies so if you struggle with pie like I do (I’ve been known to eat an entire pie in a sitting) – watch yourself! 😅

Be Doers of the Word

“I’d rather see the way you live first and find out you’re a Christian than hear about your Christianity and find out you’re a fraud.” @jane.elisabeth.lewis

I follow Jane on twitter for her thoughts on modern Christianity and culture and this tweet in particular jumped out at me. There are some strong James 1:22-25 vibes here:

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Criticism from Hope

“There is criticism that comes from cynicism, and criticism that comes from hope!” @sharonhmiller

I saw this one going around a lot last week and after reflecting on it for a minute it’s so true. I’ve been at that place many times where my criticism was a.) correct and b.) totally not helpful. This should be the question I should be asking myself when I offer “advice” – where is my heart at?

Some real proverbs 12:5 vibes here: “The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.”

Note: in making this I discovered I had no idea how to spell “criticism” or “cynicism.” 😅