Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Roofing

I helped my friend put a new roof on his house this weekend. He gathered a motley crew of in-laws, pastors, and handymen. The roof was leaky, shingles curled, and drip edge damaged. My job, as pastor and construction novice, was aligning shingles while another worker shot nails into place.

I lusted after the power of the nail gun, every pull of the trigger sounding a piercing Ptssst. Ptssst. Ptssst. But I accepted my role as leveler. Straight lines are aesthetically pleasing. Menial tasks are still meaningful. And if you don't catch a crooked line, not only will you follow it to the end of the roof, you will throw off every line above you.

I think there is a moral about orthodoxy here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Target

Yesterday I was a target. I should have known when a member of the church wanted to make sure I would be available and up front during the announcements. He was tasked to inspire involvement with our fall festival.

The theme of the festival is Get Flushed, playing on sewer imagery. Within three months everyone in the town of Leesburg (IN) has to abandon their septic tanks and hook up to the communal sewer system. People balk at change, especially when it is mandated at the tune of several thousand dollars. Our church wants to bring levity to the situation. If change is inevitable, we assume you might as well embrace it joyfully.

This brings me back to the front of the church with a toilet seat in my hands. The man at the microphone had given it to me, and he begins explaining the nature of a game called Toilet Paper Toss. One sentence into his explanation, and I cringe: A synchronized front of church people, armed with toilet paper rolls, stands to deliver. On cue they launch their single-ply missiles, unraveling as they soar through the air. I duck and dodge, repositioning the toilet seat, but recognizing that it is simply a prop; Pastor Tim (PT) is the real bulls-eye.

The conclusion was humorous. The man at the microphone said, "We wanted to see what it was like to Tepee PT." Sometimes pastors get hit. They are easy targets.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Eph. 6:18, NIV)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Technology and the Simple Church

When my brother-in-law showed me his iTouch, I lusted. I wanted to swap out my old, defunct Video iPod for the newer, sleeker version. His had more gigabytes, applications, and longer battery life. Turning the screen sideways initiates widescreen (16:9) format, fitting summer blockbusters into a three-inch screen.



"Do you like to watch movies that way?" I asked my brother-in-law.

"Oh, yeah," he replied.

Either small is the new big, or we have really lowered our standards.

In a recent Wired magazine article, author Robert Capps labels this the "Good Enuf Rvlutn" (a.k.a., Good Enough Revolution). His premise is that 'low-fi technology,' such as MP3s, Skype calls, minibook laptops, Flip camcorders, and virtual lawyers, 'will rule the world.'

In a insightful summary, Capps writes, "The attributes that now matter most of all fall under the rubric of accessibility. Thanks to the speed and connectivity of the digital age, we've stopped fussing over pixel counts, sample rates, and feature lists. Instead, we're now focused on three things: ease of use, continuous availability, and low price." As a result, people will 'happily sacrifice power and applications' in pursuit of the three aforementioned values.

People are beginning to prefer what is simple, ready-made, and cheap. Perhaps this accounts for the rebirth of the Little Caesar pizza franchise. And the simple church movement can likewise pay tribute to the 'Good Enough Revolution.' Let's just hope this expression of church, which could likely become the soul of Christianity in decades to come, avoids becoming too cheap.