Sunday, September 14, 2008

Feeling Convicted

I don't even know if this is the correct word for how I feel, but I think it might be.

This morning we went to church, attending the early service which opened with a video of the ten year history of the church. This month marks 10 years for North Metro Church.

They plugged a couple of other things including recaping last week's baptism service in which 39 people were baptized. My immediate thought was here we go with bragging and numbers. The guy speaking rambled on about the histiry of the church and the total number of dollars the church has donated to charity. More numbers, more self-praise.

Before you jump in and say I need to find a new church, I'll let you know I have heard/seen/experienced this kind of thing at every church I have attended.

So we moved into the music. We're sitting inthe smaller room upstairs again, where they have the "acoustic" music. I spent the majority of this time thinking critically of the whole thing. What the Hell are these computer-generated colors, lines, and squiggles on the screen supposed to mean or do. If it is about worship as a group, why are there spotlights on the people leading the music. That seems to draw the attention to them and their performances. Why do we have so many people in our church with completely shaved heads?

Next weird thing, kind of bizarre. They do a turn and greet someone (which we almost never do) and the guy two rows ahead turns to us and introduces himself and asks where he knows me from. He said he knows I work for Chick-fil-a and remembers we've played poker together. I offer Winston's as a location and he agrees. I have not worked for Chick-fil-a for 15 months, so this guy remembered me from at least that long ago?!?!?!

So we continue.....

They play another video. This church really likes producing videos. they do it for every person who is baptized and they have done it with people telling really deep stories about their personal lives that tie in to the sermon before it begins. It makes me wonder how they find the people to tell the stories because I know for a fact that the pastor of our church can not tell you my name and we've been attending for a year and a half and have been members for a full year.

So the video is of this couple telling us how they were either athiests or agnostics (they were not sure which they really were). The woman is rambling about challenging God to send her a sign that He is real. So she's driving one morning and she sees a rainbow and this to her changes her life because she read that after the Earth was flooded and Noah did the animal thing he saw a rainbow.

I looked up a website called and found this...Rainbows are caused by the splitting of white sunlight into it component colors by raindrops. Some of the light that falls on a water drop enters the drop. As it enters the drop, the light is bent (refracted) and split into a rainbow of colors. This is because each color of light gets bent by a slightly different amount. The different colors then reflect off the back of the drop, and when they pass through the front of the drop again, they are bent (refracted) still more. A rainbow is always directly opposite the sun from the observer. This explains why rainbows are only seen when the sun is low in the sky, usually in the late afternoon. The rainbow's location will appear different for observers at different locations, but it is always directly opposite the sun.

Um yeah, so God exists for this woman because of light and water. Well, even though my original thought about it was that a rainbow is just an element of nature that we can explain easily thanks to science, I thought a bit more. Water and light. Jesus is the living water. Jesus is the light. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

The pastor is talking about what is next. It's not about what is next for the church it is about what is next for each of us as individuals. He said there would be three references. I only remember 2 and I don't recall the point of the first one which was about Abraham. The one I remember best had to do with Jesus speaking to a woman who was either a prostitute or an adultress (as if it matters) and how she was told to change and move on.

In some form of illustrative exercise there were pieces of artwork placed in the rooms and we were told to go to them and write a word or phrase that illustrates our own "what's next." I did not participate because I was sitting in my seat really stopping to wonder what I am about and what my faith is about. I know the things I do wrong, and quite a few of them I take great pleasure in. I do not want to give them up, but deep down I know I ought to. I need to.

Jimmy Buffett wrote a lyric with a woman talking to her guy and says, "I treat my body like a temple. You treat yours like a tent."

I do.




I need change. I need a next step.


the5powells said...

Sounds like you're listening to the Holy Spirit. Keep listening...He'll show you the next step...but then you gotta act and obey. sometimes, that's crazy hard. but all the time, it's beyond worth it.

Laura said...

Why does it bother you so much to hear your church mention numbers? Doesn't the Bible mention numbers?

Matthew 14: Jesus Feeds the 5000
Matthew 15: Jesus Feeds the 4000
Acts 2:41: 3000 baptized
Acts 4:4: the number of men grew to about 5000

...just to name a few.

The 10 year anniversary is a time to celebrate and reflect on how God has moved through your church. I am sure there are lots of new "members" that appreciated the recap on what their church has done over the years, before they were a part of the congregation.

It is a shame that you are so self involved that you cannot see the good that the church is doing today.

amy said...

I had a problem with numbers too. Its almost like some churches care about how many they can "save". I no longer feel like that. As I told michael, some people need to hear numbers to realize the impact the church is making on people.

Sometimes when you look at churches like that, you miss the point of the church and community.

Glad we talked about this offline. This is going to come across so the wrong way

Don and Be said...

I once had a deacon ask me "Are you anti-church?" I tend to pick apart just about everything so church is no exception. I even pick apart my faith and how I follow or deviate from the ways of Christ. I don't partularly like the meet and greet, "We're so EXCITED about this" or "We're so EXCITED about that" or the fill in the blanks sermon outlines. But whenever they become more important than my faith, I'm knocked down a notch or two to focus on the important thing - my walk with Christ.
Have you seen "Stuff Christians Like"? This guy is quite the Christian satirist and I have a feeling he's your kind of guy. Here's the address

Yep - 3 Fs in stufff

Anonymous said...

the thing about Jon at StufffChrsitiansLike is he is a strong Christian and you can tell.

He isn't laughing at Christians he is laughing with them.

I don't get that same feeling here.

Anonymous said...

Maybe questioning things on your blog is not a good thing. Anonymous people don't help.

Im wondering if people are reading the entire post or just getting defensive about the church. I tell you what. I hope you stay at your church, no matter what things you do not like about them. Obviously, something is getting to you.

If Laura and anonymous go to your church, they would make me want to stay away. YOu cant say someone is self involved on this post. Quite judgemental I say.

I will be honest. There have been some things on your blog that I dont like or dont agree and sometimes I wonder what is this due thinking?=B ut I think this is your way of getting things out of the open and how you are choosing to question things. your wife and you and very special people to me. Im glad I am getting to know the real you. I know there are people in your church who feel the same way about the church that you do. Some dont admit it. Some act like they have it all together when in fact they have some messed up lives and still continue to judge. Not cool. I have no idea about the author that was mentioned. But man, God is personal to each person. Do as you feel but you have to get away from things that are convicting you, no matter how good they make you feel.

So, I think posts like this are good. Stay self involved if its making you think. As long as you are not personally attacking someones beliefs, its okay to question them.

I do agree with Laura that the Bible uses numbers for a reason. Some of us think differently. I totally see your views on the lighting and numbers. If you can get past that, and listen to God, you may find the peace you desire.
You know I am praying for both of you and we have had some heart to hearts. YOu are not nearly as bad as some people think you are. The written word is judge so much more than the spoken. Thats a shame!

You are loved by many....

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous people don't help," said Anonymous Poster.

Is that weird to anyone else or just me?

Laura said...

I wasn't basing my comment on this post alone - there have been many posts that have helped me form my opinion (not judgment). I am just trying to stand up for "the church" - and I don't mean just Valtool's church. I don't think this makes me the type of person to "stay away" from as the person stated above.

I am just so tired of hearing people complain about the church instead of actually doing something about it. If you find yourself in a service that you continually have nothing good to say then it might be time to explore other church options.

Sounds to me like you are focusing more on the aesthetics than the message of Christ. Maybe a traditional service is a better fit for you? I know many Metro Atlanta churches offer that type of service.

amy said...

Sounds to me like you are focusing more on the aesthetics than the message of Christ
---This could be very true

I know that we both really like the teaching there.

Anonymous said...

You mean "Anonymous" is more than one preson?