The Weekly Update, and, Starbucks and the Church

Last week, I was at North East Iowa Christian Service Camp with 90 middle school students. I had fun speaking a few nights, ate some great food, hung out with students and got to know Daren Mitchell, a youth minister from Marshaltown, Iowa over his french press and the Starbucks coffee he brought. It was time very well spent. It rained most of the week, but the kids had a great time. I ran a few times while there, 3 miles on Monday and just 2 on Wednesday. I also ran Saturday, Sunday. According to some mathematical formula, one can determine their maximum heart rate by subtracting their age from 220. Well, 220-38=182. On Sunday’s run, my heart rate max was 187…so, I think I should have collapsed in a heap of dead skin and exploded heart. This morning when I ran, it was terribly hot and humid, I thought I was going to die. The good news is that I’m running consistently faster than I was pre-surgery. The bad news time sucks. I wish I knew what the average time per mile was for a 38 year old male.

Unfortunately, the issues with my back seem to be returning. Today, I’m in a ton of pain, and am going to the physical therapist (trainer??-lol) on Friday.

On the summer reading list:
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley

Brian McLaren points us over to an article at Sojourners in which Jon Stewart is interviewed by “Rev” Jim Wallis. Apparently, Jon and Jim “get it right”, whatever the crap that means. In this amazing interview, Jon Stewart proclaims a works-based salvation, and Jim Wallis affirms is by saying nothing to counter him.

Jim Wallis: When it comes to aspects of faith, you’ve said you’re not particularly observant—you said you had a bacon cheese croissantwich during Passover this year. What are the best and worst ways you’ve seen religion impact current events?

Jon Stewart: Religion makes sense to me. I have trouble with dogma more than I have trouble with religion. I think the best thing religion does is give people a sense of place, purpose, and compassion. My quibble with it is when it’s described as the only way to have those things instilled. You can be moral and not be religious, you can be compassionate, you can be empathetic—you can have all those wonderful qualities. When it begins to be judged as purely based on religion, then you’re suggesting a world where Star Jones goes to heaven but Gandhi doesn’t.”

Dude, God says that man’s idea of good works are like filthy rags. In fact, the Hebrew used in that verse ACTUALLY says that good works are like used menstrual cloths. So as far as Gandhi goes…absent a relationship with Christ, his works mean squat.

Jim Wallis: So religion has no monopoly on religion.

Jon Stewart: That’s right. Like anything else that’s that powerful—that is touching that deep into the epicenter of the human psyche and our fears, it can be misused. I’m probably much more responsive in a bad way to dogma and to extremism than to religion. When people say things like, “I found God and that helped me stop drinking,” I say, “Great! More power to you. Just know that some people stop drinking without it.” It’s when it gets into the realm of “This is the only way to salvation”—that’s when I think, “Okay, now we’re getting into a problem.”

While “religion has no monopoly on religion” (whatever THAT means), Jesus has a monopoly on who and how one gets in. When Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me”, I don’t think He was kidding.

Here’s part 6 of my review of the “What if Starbucks Marketed Like The Church?” video (at right).

From “Inconsistent Artwork“:

“Here’s a test. How many different versions of the logo did you see in the video? I’ll give you a hint… It’s more than five. Do you ever wonder why most churches have logos and design styles that vary in everything they do? In most cases I would suggest that it mirrors a lack of commitment to who they are as a church…I beg you, as a church, it is time to figure out who God has called you both to be and to reach.”

To be clear: I love Eastview Christian Church; as an employer, they care for me and my family and they are a great place to work, as an involved member, I feel the desire to be a committed participant in what we do, and not just “because” I’m paid staff. I love the people that are here, adults and students alike. God has, is and will do great things here.


I’m not so sure that as a collective, as a “church”, we know who or what God has called us to be. And as for reaching people, I’m not so sure about that one either.


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Filed under brave new world revisited, fahrenheit 451, middle school ministry, NEICSC, north east iowa christian service camp, richard reising, the world is flat, what if starbucks marketed like the church

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