Gratitude and Greed: The story of Thanksgiving & Black Friday

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Photo Credit: Matt Jones

As I begin writing this post, I’m sitting in Sam’s Club waiting for tires to be put on my car. From the café area, I can see most of the store and it’s stocked to the brim with bulk food, low prices, and junk. I spent some time in the electronics area thinking about getting a Roku TV to replace the old TV/DVD/VCR combo tv we have (yes, we still have a VCR). Because of the time of year, my thoughts quickly jumped to Black Friday sales.

Most of us have the same kind of thoughts this time of year. “What’s on sale? What do I want? Where can I get it? What time do I have to get up to get the deals? I’ll be done with dinner by the time that store opens on Thanksgiving, maybe I’ll just run over and pick something up.” Then, of course, a week later we realize we still have Christmas gifts to buy since we’ve mostly bought for ourselves. Continue reading

There aren’t Life Hacks for following Jesus

This is actually a useful "lifehack."  Photo Credit: drbakker via Compfight cc
A helpful “lifehack”
Photo Credit: drbakker via Compfight cc

I grew up in the 90’s so whenever I hear the terms hack, hacker, or hacking, I immediately think of someone typing really fast on a computer trying to break through some sort of firewall. The term “hacking” however has evolved over the past decade and now share their latest “life hack” on Facebook. If you’re not familiar with the term “Life hacking” it “refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life.” [1] There’s even a website called Lifehacker.com. Now to be honest, there are a lot of neat tips and tricks out there for making life easier, but when it comes to following Jesus there aren’t any life hacks. Continue reading

Fighting against Our Instant Culture

We live in a fast society. Everything happens quickly, if not instantaneously. While it’s nice to have things available whenever we need them, it can teach us be impatient with those things that need time. Spiritual formation and developing mission are among those things that take time. We need to be willing to take this things slowly.

61DJ2UqrooL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_In their book Slow Church, John Pattison and Chris Smith write about slowing down the ways that we do church and cultivating the patient way of Jesus. Initially, the idea of slowing down church may be off-putting to some because either church is boring enough and doesn’t need to be slower, or there needs to be an urgency with which we share the gospel because the world is in need. The good news is that they don’t mean that church services should be slower, although times of slowing down are helpful, and they don’t mean that we need to slow down the spread of the Gospel around the world. Instead what they are advocating is a less franchised and McDonaldized version of the church. Instead of planting churches that are the same no matter their context or the culture of their local community, we need to take the time to cultivate a church that in some ways embodies the spirit of the community (or the “taste of the place” as the call it) and also seeks to meet the real needs of that community. Continue reading

Is Jesus the Answer

Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass via Compfight cc

Recently I attended the Slow Church Conference over at Englewood Christian Church in Indianapolis. I had a fantastic time meeting new people and learning from brilliant theologians. I had the opportunity to reflect on my time at the conference over at the Slow Church Blog. In short, I was deeply struck by the discussion of making room for the presence of Christ in our lives and in the world. I believe that the church would benefit from an effort to be less efficient and focus on intentional and deliberate practices that cultivate the presence of Christ in our lives so that bring that presence to wherever we live.y that we practice the spiritual disciplines.

Read my reflection, and see what else is going on, over at the Slow Church Blog.