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Visiting Churches

Misdirected and Frustrated

Discussing Church 30

When Candy asked about the service time, the pastor confirmed what their website said: 10 a.m. When we arrive, they tell us to sit anywhere. After fifty agonizing minutes, they say, “Thanks for coming. The service will start in about ten minutes.” They used the old bait and switch tactic on us.

Consider these four discussion questions about Church #30:

1. We just endured an agonizing Sunday school. They must think they’re clever, but I feel manipulated. They should be honest and say church starts at eleven. 

How might people feel tricked or misled about your church’s practices or the information posted online?

2. We sing old-time hymns with piano accompaniment. They sing with vigor. 

How might people characterize the singing and worship at your church? Is their assessment acceptable?

3. One man wears a lapel pin of the Baptist flag. He thinks his pin is a conversation starter, but his dogmatic discourse pushes me away. 

In what way might our words, passion, or doctrine repel people?

4. Today we heard a powerful message and worshiped God with people passionate about singing, but their bait and switch trick to get us into attending Sunday school remains my key memory. What parting memory do people leave with from your church? (If they don’t come back, you made a bad impression.)

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Personal Posts

How Much Does it Cost?

I’m not one who spends money easily or frivolously. It should surprise no one that at some point in a purchase decision I will deliberate on the cost of the item in question.

Can I afford it? Is it within my budget? Is this a wise use of my money? Will I derive sufficient value? Is this an emotional or intellectual decision? If I buy this item now will it preclude a more relevant purchase later? Yeah, I do that.

When I’m at a restaurant I also look at prices. No, I don’t ask all of the above questions, but cost is an important consideration.

I resort to judging the amount of food by the cost of the meal. It always serves to save me money and often serves to save my waistline. Click To Tweet

For the first part of my life, price was a financially practical contemplation. Did I have enough money to pay the bill? I would only order what I could pay for with cash—be it with bills or coins.

I’m at a different place today. Though I never want to overpay for a meal, the primary reason I look at prices now is that I perceive price as being an indicator of the quantity of food.

You see, I was taught to eat everything on my plate and to not waste food, so what the restaurant gives me, I will eat, even if I’m full.

If the portion is too big, I will end up eating too much. So I resort to judging the amount of food by the cost of the meal. Though not an error-free method, it always serves to save me money and often serves to save my waistline.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Personal Posts

April Fool’s Day

I Wasn’t Fooled

Yesterday was April Fool’s Day, and I was subjected to nary a foolish prank. I think that might be a first.

When I worked in an office environment—the kind with other people around—someone would always try to prank me, providing a momentary pause, before reality and common sense resumed control.

When I retreated to the confines of a solo office, the pranks would arrive via email in the form of a clever, too-good-to-be-true press release. They would often have a humorous aspect to them as well, giving me reason to chuckle or smile—or sometimes groan.

I was not so fortunate this year. What press releases I did receive on day one of April were of the serious and on-the-level variety.

One year, someone kept sending me emails, building up the anticipation for a big announcement on April first. I assumed it was merely a well-planned joke that would be sprung on April Fool’s Day. 

Alas, it was not. It was a real announcement.

Hence the first rule of press releases—never time one to occur on April Fool’s Day. You don’t want your carefully edited news item to be summarily discarded into the recycle bin of Tom Foolery.

The meanest April Fool’s joke I ever witnessed was a co-worker calling his mother, informing her that he and his wife were expecting; it would be the first grandchild.  Her initial excitement was dashed, however, when her son exclaimed, “April Fool’s.”

I’m sure he won’t try that one again—or will he?

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.