Hypocrites? No, not us.
24 comments on “We’re Making This Too Easy”
Yes, yes we are. Relevant doesn’t have to mean violent or even secular does it?
haha, no hypocritical Halo for me Being a girl, it’s not the sort of thing that attracts me… though perhaps I have other pitfalls like wearing a shirt that’s a little too tight or saying yummy too much. *~.^
UNBELIEVABLE! the ol’ bait & switch method…works everytime.
Gotta love the “hey if you want to attract young men to church, try free alcohol and porn” blast in there.
I’m so confused about church these days. It all feels so self-serving.
Tamara Cosby says:
I totally agree, I appreciate your comment on my blog, it was a VERY true comment and I appreciate that. I added more to my post as well as a return comment, I realized I hadn’t given MY reason for disagreeing with this methodology. For many reasons. Thanks for being True!
Jeff M. Miller says:
Hey, just as long as the youth pastor stands up later and gives a study on the “effects of violent media on your spirit: trash in trash out.”
Oh wait, that doesn’t make sense either….
That’s okay Microsoft was being hypocritical when they hired Richard Dean Anderson to be there to officiate the very opening sales of the game in Ireland because they were compairing MacGvyer (who hated guns) to Master Cheif because they were both “heros” that people “admired” I’m sorry but your totally being hypocritical if you say that a fictional character who hated guns and violence is liken unto a character that loves guns and killing things.
Cali Amy says:
I didn’t really know what halo was, I guess I didn’t know it was so violent. it does seem pretty strange to use it at church.
But to be totally honest, I enjoy watching the tv show 24 and playing playstation from time to time. (a lot of games involve fighting of some kind) In real life, I don’t think I’ve ever even hit someone.
Gaetano Buffa says:
Wow. I feel sad.
A couple of points come to mind… I’m a recovering Halo/Doom/Quake/Counterstrike fanatic, so I’ve put my hours into those games. They are addictive. There’s always a thrill to become better, to beat someone better than you, etc.
But lately I’ve become far more acutely aware of what I invest time into. Are those things making me more like Christ? Are they the best ways to spend what time I have with friends? Is it the best thing I can do while I’m alone? And when I answer those questions, I can’t honestly say “yes”.
My wife and I sold our XBox on ebay. I uninstalled the games. Suddenly there was time for remodeling the basement, woodworking projects, dates with my wife, visits to our homeless shelter, helping with the youth group, teaching Sunday school. Now some of those things I did even while gaming—but now I have more time to devote to doing them better. And I rarely look back.
The other thing that gets me… I own real guns. When you hold a real gun, you realize its ability to destroy life. When you shoot a deer or a rabbit or a squirrel, you see something that had life lose it right in front of you. Then you go back to these games and think, “I’m going to pretend to do WHAT to image-bearers of God’s image bearers?” Whole new perspective.
Now for a devil’s advocate moment. Remember that we’ve all walked a ways in our journeys. I used to play those games because I didn’t see the time wasted or realize what I was pretending to do. Perhaps many of these guys haven’t been so enlightened yet. Or maybe they haven’t found things in life that are far more satisfying than Halo or Quake or TV or romance novels or __________. Before we point at them and cry hypocrite, let’s think about what we can do to help these kids (or these youth pastors, even) find the life that gives far more satisfaction and far more reward… and let’s invite them along to be our disciples.
I just re-read that article… Did Mr. Barbour really say, “We want to make it hard for teenagers to go to hell”?? My stars that must be nice. Not even Jesus could pull that off. In fact, he warned us that the road to hell is broad and most will easily find their way there. The road to heaven is narrow, difficult, and few will find it.
It saddens and frightens me that these pastors are relevant and draw dozens of 13 year olds to play a game the WORLD says isn’t suitable for minors, but they don’t know Scripture well enough to remember what Jesus taught (or perhaps they think he was wrong about a few things.. like the Kingdom).
To supplement my first post, it’s not the kids who need training and discipling, it’s these pastors If we don’t work on that problem, they’ll not only fail to make it hard for kids to go to hell, they’ll make it impossible for them to find the Kingdom…
Nancy Tyler says:
I heard about this on the news last night and it made me sad more than anything.
Pulling in pieces of the culture for the purpose of relating and of ministering–that’s great. But it depends on what pieces we’re pulling in.
Ministry and opinion leaders are looked to for cues on what’s ok to do or to say within that cultural or religious group. People don’t tend to try to be better or more godly than their leaders; they don’t expect that they can reach that level. Instead, most aim just below the standards their leaders model.
So, an influential Christian lets loose a few colorful words publicly or posts a suggestive picture on their MySpace page or blog or brings violent video games into the youth group–whatever. Most impressionable people under the influence of that leader take away the thought “Well if he did it, it must not be so bad.” And that enables them to justify sliding down to the next lower level of behavior and of constantly redefining what’s right for them as a Christian to do or say.
Youth pastor, Mom and Dad say “Don’t have sex before marriage.” “No problem,” a girl told me last week, “because if we do it this way instead of the ‘regular way,’ it isn’t really sex,” she justified.
People are good enough at aiming below biblical standards. Leaders aren’t helping the cause by themselves modeling an off-target aim or by being too narrow in defining what sin is.
We humans don’t turn away from godly behavior in leaps; we slip away in inches. It’s easy to find yourself pointed in the wrong direction and not know how you ended up there.
Wow, this was an especially poignant read after your post about murder in our hearts… as a twenty-something Christian I’m often disheartened by my Christian peers’ embrace of this kind of stuff. My husband and I take a lot of flack for not wanting to participate in video gaming or trips to sexually explicit films… and those we get the most flack from are on leadership…
It’s refreshing to see that it’s still acceptable to be judgmental.
Shaun Groves says:
Ironically, that was judgmental, Geron.
But bonus points for sarcasm.
It seems like the American church has blurred the line so much between trying to attract people (aka “being relevant”) and being self-serving.
For example, I’m in the process of trying to start a college church. I know it will have to be relevant to the culture, but I pray (and ask for prayers) for wisdom to see clearly the line between the two.
Shaun Groves says:
Noelle, will do.
There’s an article in the VAULT of this site on Relevance, btw.
Keep us updated on how the church planting goes. You might want to ask for pray and give updates on the BOARD, in the prayer section, as well.
Just Matt says:
“church” is all about filling the pews isn’t it? Gotta do what ever it takes, right?
Just Matt: I feel that way more and more every day since we’ve been on staff (I say “on staff” – actually I’m a wife of staff, but it feels the same) at one… and I find it more and more difficult to do my job when it seems so pointless… it doesn’t feel much like ministry anymore.
I’ve worked in the church lending industry for 8 years… done about $750 million in church loans and have looked at well over a billion dollars in church loans… and it doesn’t even come close to feeling like ministry to me anymore. It’s a business. “Reaching people” often means “butts in the seats” which means tithing which means everyone makes money.
Granted, that’s a blanket statement, and there is ministry that goes on. But I woke up about 6 months ago and said to myself “self, you am enabling an industry that disgusts you… time for a change.” I start my new job November 2…
Cali Amy says:
Was it on this blog where we talked about how a group needs a “crisis of faith” to keep growing and that’s why so many churches do expansion projects? I can’t remember.
I can’t get on board with filling the pews or taking out huge loans to build buildings. But I really try my hardest to be as fair minded as I can about those who do. It’s so easy for me to become critical. I’m not saying this to anyone else, really just about myself. How come it’s so hard to live your convictions and also not judge others at the same time?
Shaun Groves says:
Wow, Tony. Would have loved reading a blog written from the inside of that industry.
In a sense, I presume, you and I are in similar boats – or your former boat – or…whatever. We both see so much ungliness in our jobs that it’s hard to remember God works in spite of the things we don’t get or understand, and that stuff has always been in the Church or else Paul would have had very little to write about, and even you and I – you know – are full of some pretty rank stuff.
Congrats on the new job. Praying for your recovery from your last one. How did that experience affect you spiritually if at all? How did that affect the way you perceived your own home church, what you valued in “church” or didn’t? How did it affect your own personal approach to finances?
Shaun, my friend, you have no idea… I was just talking w/ a friend in the industry the other day about how we should write a book called “The Men Who Know Too Much”. Funny, I was just looking through Outreach Magazine’s top 100 churches in America… out of those 100, I’ve either done a loan or looked at doing a loan for 45 of them… which means I’ve seen all their financial statements, etc. I don’t say that to boast, in fact, I am not proud of it. It is WAY too much info for me to have in my nugget. I wish I could just forget a ton of it.
To be fair, though, in my experience, the majority of the churches at that level are “doing it right” – that is, no one’s getting rich, skimming off the top, etc. We could debate what “it” is that they’re doing, and the validity of it, but I can say that while I may not agree w/ the idea of “mega-churches”, at least I have seen less blatant theft, or the fleecing of the congregation’s pockets to buy the pastor a new Bentley (true story) that pops up in some churches…
To your question(s)…
Yes, we’re in similar boats, in more ways than one. Prior to being in the church lending business, I was in the Christian music business… and I was on staff at a church… so, I feel your pain. I keep telling myself that GOD uses broken vessels (like me), but I just can’t talk myself into enabling what I feel is more than a broken vessel – it’s broken system.
How did it affect me spiritually? Well… is there a space limit on these comments?
Right now, it’s left us (my wife and I) quite jaded and cynical about church. Not about God, or the Word, but about church. It’s a business. It may not set out to be a business, and the founder of the church may be just as disgusted by it as I am, but it’s like… it creates its’ own inertia, you know?
Once you meet on Sundays, and people start coming, then you need space, so you get a building and a rent payment or a mortgage, and now you have to pay that every month and… presto, it’s a business, with financial statements, balance sheets, profit and loss, growth strategies (called “Outreach Events”), etc. Lately we’ve talked a lot (my wife and I) about how perhaps that whole scenario is completely unavoidable. It’s like it creates its’ own momentum, and the pastors / staff are powerless to stop it.
It impacted what we value in a church in that we have lowered our expectations. As we look for a home church when we move to St. Louis soon, we will look for one that takes good care of our kids, has decent music, and has biblically sound teaching. That’s it. We don’t look to the church to provide anything else. We know it’s made up of people, which means its’ flawed… so we try to do all we can to put our hope in Christ and in the Word, and not in the church itself.
As far as our personal approach to finances… well… we tithe, but not always at church. We find people and efforts that need money, and we give. No rhyme or reason to it.
One day when you’re in Columbus, OH (or, in the near future, St. Louis), we’ll go have a bite and share stories…
Sorry this got so long… you asked great questions, though.
Shaun Groves says:
Not too long at all, Tony. Thanks for telling strangers so much about yourself.
We should do that bite and story thing for sure.
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