Sunday, November 20, 2005


I feel rebellious.

I grew up with a great love for the physical church. Sundays, Wednesdays, extra activities - I was always there. I always considered it a blessing that somehow I never despised church, that my parents didn't have to drag me out of bed to go every Sunday at 8am. I was one of the church-going, naive-and-loving-it, sold out Christians. And homeschooled too. Church was where I felt alive, loved, needed for ministry.

I'm not very fond of church anymore.

My heart is breaking for the churches of America. I just spent a good 20 minutes fascinatedly reading a church marketing website. I enjoy this website. I've loved some of the thoughts and ideas they've observed or created. Tonight, I came away sad. I was buying it. I was swallowing all of the church jargon, the "just be the church you are" slogans. Some places are being encouraged to use the "Dove" real beauty campaign for ways to represent the real people that are able to connect in the community. There isn't anything wrong with being real people and connecting with the community; but I'm confused about "church marketing."

Perhaps I'm sentimental and I like the sometimes old-fashioned feel of going to church. I used to love the idea of the new contemporary songs, youth group activities, and expensive church banners that build the "identity" of the church. Now, I can't stand in a service and sing a song that on many levels insults my intelligence and the depth of my relationship with Christ. I'm frustrated with evangelistic messages that are desensitizing me to the reality of the gospel. When did church become an evangelistic building? Where am I supposed to go as a Christian to be challenged and convicted beyond a daily talk with God? I've decided I definitely don't agree with modernizing the church or keeping up with the times. For once I don't want something that is constantly changing and trying to stay relevant. I question the integrity of something that tries to keep convincing me of its relevance.

Look nice. Be well-designed. I encourage and hope for that. But "keep the faith" for lack of a less-trite phrase. Open the Bible and speak from "its diaphragm."

[end of soapbox thoughts]

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

it all came back to me

I received an e-mail today from Avant Ministries - just their normal update; but upon browsing it, I discovered an article that surprised me. I almost forgot I wrote that. It was funny, rereading my thoughts. All these memories came flooding in. Smells, laughs, food, conversations, museums, streets, even movies that I filled time with. A part of me misses it. A part of me can't believe I was even there. Time goes by quickly. I wish I could say I've done something spectacular in the time since then, but have I?

Friday, November 04, 2005

fall and projects [not fallen projects]

Northwest Arkansas is absolutely beautiful this time of year. I love it. The trees boast brilliant colors, the air smells fresh and change-filled, and all the holidays are sneaking up. I picked up the November issue of Real Simple last night, my subscription doesn't start til January, and found it packed with suggestions on keeping the holidays stress-free. My head was overwhelmed with memories as I read about women's different methods of "doing the holidays." My own traditions/ or what I want to be traditions are starting to form in my head. It's a lovely, and somewhat scary thought to think of having my own way to celebrate.

Last weekend, Mark and I carved pumpkins. This was my first time and it was delightful. From scooping out the pumpkin guts to finally lighting a candle inside, it was a marvelous time. They have been sitting outside my townhouse for almost a week now and somehow their now-decaying form is a little comforting to me. Things change; I like that. We took pictures of them of course; but the memory of doing them will be impressed on me forever. My first time carving pumpkins.

Tonight I'm skipping our annual Toilet Paper first basketball game and going to a bonfire. I'm a little shocked at my decision as I've had a record of making it to almost all the home games, nevermind the first game. But somehow, this year I would much rather sit around a bonfire and cook smore's with new friends rather than be smooshed in a loud croud waiting to throw a roll of toilet paper at the first JBU basket. Hopefully I won't regret it; but right now I'm looking forward to relaxing. Isn't it funny how even values change.

I started this post thinking I would write something logical and profound about the season and the projects that start to pile up because of it; but instead, I find comfort in the happenings of fall that I get to be a part of. I'd much rather think of those on the beginning of a Friday night than on the looming design problems. Yes, things change, and I'm glad.