Wow, great feedback last week on whether “Massages during church” should be included in the book. Some folks loved it, some said it was average. Thanks for being honest.
Today, I thought I’d do a short stack of essays, with three micro ideas instead of one long rambling essay. If you could only choose two of these three, which two would you put in the book? Pretend it’s a no holds barred cage match, which two are walking out?
(My hope is that I can fit all three, but I’ve put this book on a crash diet and have it running on a treadmill with a piano and a small Shetland pony strapped to its back and Jillian from the show Biggest Loser yelling at it. “You think, you’re good enough to be printed? You think you’re paper worthy? Is that what you think? You gotta be funnier than that! You gotta want it!” I am weird.)
Essay #1 – Using “let me pray about it” as a synonym for “no.”
I love when someone asks us to help out at church and instead of saying, “no” we say, “Let me pray about it.” Really? I asked you to help me clean up tomorrow night after the youth group and you feel like that’s something you need to run passed the Savior of the world? He’s going to give you the thumbs up or thumbs down on whether or not you can help me stack chairs for seven minutes?
Sure, there are lots of situations that call for a “pause while I pray” response. But I think that 37% of the time when we say “let me pray about it” we are just saying that so we can delay the rejection and can later email the person a big no instead of doing it in person.
Essay #2 – Love Offerings
A love offering is kind of a “volunteer offering” the church takes up during special occasions like when a puppet group from Guam (named “Strings of Mercy”) is performing at your church. It’s really not that voluntary though because if you don’t contribute anything you’re essentially telling everyone that your heart is not full of love. By not putting a couple of bucks in the offering plate you’re actually putting in a big fistful of hate. I wish when the ushers collected a love offering they would say out loud when someone didn’t give, “Oh, you don’t have any love for the magical world of puppetry? I guess love your neighbor doesn’t include puppeteers? Fine.”
Essay #3 – Church names that sound like designer clothing stores.
My cousin attends a church called “Warehouse 242.” There’s another church in his area called, “Elevation.” In Durham, North Carolina there’s a church simply called “The Summit.” I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point we started naming our churches after stores that sell designer jeans. And I’m cool with that. I don’t think you have to name something the “Back to the Bible Holiness Church” which is outside of Atlanta in case you want to attend.
I think it might be a great thing to have a funky name because it opens up some good conversations with people. Imagine you’re at work on Monday and someone says, “What’d you do this weekend?” You can reply “I hung out at Elevation.” Your friend will then say, “Is that the new salsa/techno/hip hop/Southern Cambodian traditional dance club? I’ve heard the girls in that place are ridiculous.” At which point you can then say, “No, it’s a church” and then proceed to share the entire gospel with him and possibly baptize him in the break room sink.
OK, it might not go down exactly that way, but at the bare minimum, saying you went to “Elevation” is going to at least keep the conversation rolling and possibly even raise some questions. If you said, “I went to ‘God is Awesome, Praise Sweet Baby Jesus Cathedral of Hope and Light’ over the weekend,” your friend might throw an imaginary smoke bomb and climb out of a window to get out of the conversation. Which is never a good thing.