Friday, December 26, 2008

everybody's a 'wanna be'

While I was participating in the holiday shopping movement that swept across America the last few days, I was honestly a little over whelmed by all the stores and check out lines. I'm not a big shopper to say the least, so because my shopping stamina isn't very well developed, every time I looked up at the aisle I would get light headed and feel sick to my stomach.

This lead me to sitting down on the mall benches for the majority of my time at the mall. While sitting on the mall bench, there's really only two things to do: Update my twitter status, or people-watch. Because I haven't fully bought into twitter yet, I decided to people-watch.

As I observed, here is what I noticed: Everybody is a "wanna-be".

Everybody either wants to be somebody else, have more of something, dress more like a certain someone, or fit into a certain genre of people. It doesn't matter their age, color, or social grouping. Everybody is a "wanna-be".

It's really easy for me to believe that though. Honestly you can see why people want to try and be something their not. It's so easy to think that the best way to get a girl is to "be" a certain way, because obviously if "being" the way we are was working... we'd already have a girl. That's just one example, but I think the root of the "wanna-be" problem is one small sad simple thing: lack of self confidence. If a person can be fully confident in who they are, then it really doesn't matter what other people think.

The insight I've gained from all of this is very important to me. Here's the principle: The most successful people are going to be the people who learn how to manipulate other people's desire to be more like something, and can market that particular something the best. Whether that's fair or ethical I'm not really sure, but I really do think it's true.

Is it possible for the church to market Jesus in a way that makes people want to be more like Him? I hope so. Jesus is the best product there is to offer, but I think a lot of times Christians make Him look like He sucks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

experience at the episcopal church

Last night I went to a Christmas eve Episcopal service with a friend. She warned me before hand that it was a lot different than my church and that I might hate it. Haha that's always a great way to prep someone for something.. "Yea, umm.. this might totally suck, but we're gonna' have a blast!"So I was going in not really knowing what to expect.

As it turns out, I actually had a pretty good time. It was extremely different than my church, but it was pretty cool experiencing their church service. Plus, I got to drink real wine for the first time, so I got to be exposed to that side of culture as well.. haha. Unfortunately I woke up this morning with a hang over..

No but seriously, here are some of my thoughts on the night.

Everything was very routine. If you're a regular attender, you know exactly what is about to happen the entire time. That is just a matter of preference, but to me that makes it hard to reach people because they feel a little awkward not knowing what to do. All the prayers and stuff that the priests say are prayers that are already written down. They read them aloud and the congregation then also has a part in the prayer. That is a pretty cool aspect of the service, hearing all the people saying simple truths about God in unison, but I think it also takes away some authenticity. To me, God is worshiped the greatest when we speak our own thoughts to Him.

I guess that's really the main thing that stuck out to me. If the tradition represented in that type of service helps people worship and truly connect with God, then that is great. For me, however, it's easier to see the massiveness of what Jesus did for me when there are two electric guitars, an awesome keyboard station, a drummer effectively using the crash, and a flaring bass player all tightly playing an anthem together. Like for instance Glory to God by Steve Fee.

I did have a great time at the service though, and I'm glad I went. It's always good to observe things like that to see how you can improve your own ministry, because to me the ultimate purpose of ministry is to make it easy for people to experience God.