The IM Saturday Brunch: August 25, 2018
Nuns having fun edition
During Marian Catholic High School night at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday, Sister Mary Jo Sobiek took the mound to deliver the first pitch. In one of the slickest moves of the season, Sister Mary Jo showed off a cool arm-bounce trick and threw a strike over the plate.
Sister Mary Jo comes from a long tradition of nuns having fun. Here are a few more sisters at play…
And you wonder why the evangelical churches are shallow?
Because THIS is the kind of leadership advice they are getting and listening to.
When your church is mediocre, it should be no surprise unchurched people aren’t lining up to join you and that you’re not attracting and keeping the amazing leaders who might attend your church but don’t want to get involved because things are so sub-par.
…So, how do you know your church is mediocre? Here are 7 signs to look for.
1. You have non-singers singing and bad players playing
2. Bad Production
3. School Play Quality Live Streams
4. A Lame Website
5. Your Info Isn’t Current
6. You’re Resigned to This
7. You’re Afraid to Change
Seriously, these are the problems churches are having these days?
The real problem is in the assumption Nieuwhof makes — that the goal is to have “unchurched people line up to join you” and “attracting and keeping amazing leaders.” More church growth babble: if you build it (an awesome organization with incredible entertainment and programs), they will come.
But will they find Jesus there?
Sad news from the McCain family…
“Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: he had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”
“Our family is immensely grateful for the support and kindness of all his caregivers over the last year, and for the continuing outpouring of concern and affection from John’s many friends and associates, and the many thousands of people who are keeping him in their prayers. God bless and thank you all.”
Everyone is judge and jury these days…
A story in the news ticked me off this week.
As our series on Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind showed, “human nature is not just intrinsically moral, it’s also intrinsically moralistic, critical, and judgmental.” These days, it doesn’t matter what partisan side you’re on, it seems you are compelled to play judge and jury on every thing you become aware of through the all-pervasive media.
Daniel Murphy is a baseball player. The Chicago Cubs traded for him to boost their flagging offense for the pennant race. As a Cubs fan I am interested in all things related to the team, and I was excited to get this All-Star quality player for our side. But as I listened to radio coverage, it seemed like all anyone wanted to talk about what something Daniel Murphy said back in 2015 about the “homosexual lifestyle.”
Back then, Murphy, a devout Christian, made some comments about former MLB player Billy Bean, who is openly gay and serves as the league’s Ambassador for Inclusion. Murphy said at the time he “[disagreed] with his lifestyle” and “the fact he is homosexual.” But in fact his statement was more nuanced than that, and he affirmed that he would not shun Bean or any other homosexual, because that would not represent the kind of love he believes he should show to everyone. It was a common evangelical response.
Now I don’t happen to fully agree with Daniel Murphy about this. But words like “bigot” were being thrown around by these radio people and in print in stories I read.
Folks, holding an opinion that I disagree with is not bigotry. Bigotry, in fact, is not an opinion or an intellectual “position” a person holds. There are no “bigoted views,” as the linked article above calls them. Bigotry is an attitude, a visceral opposition to another. Someone holding an opinion may be misinformed or ignorant. Views and positions may be spouted in defense of bigotry, but a bigot is not someone who simply holds a point of view. Furthermore, we are all on a journey, and on this way we learn, we grow, and our opinions and perspectives change. But no one seems to be inclined to practice patience or forbearance anymore. We have become so partisan and violently tribalistic in our discourse that views we deem unacceptable are seen as active animosity toward our side and therefore simply cannot be tolerated.
In fact, Billy Bean himself showed us a better way. He personally reached out to Murphy in 2015 and intentionally sought to develop a friendship with him. By all reports, they have indeed become friends. If anybody has a right to talk about Daniel Murphy it’s a person like Bean, who refused the path of moralistic judgment and chose the way of generosity, hospitality, and peacemaking.
Speaking of which…
An article at CT makes reference to a recent survey that shows — surprise! — people want to go to church with people who agree with them about politics. What might be a bit surprising is that it is younger people who agree most with the statement, “I prefer to attend a church where people share my political views.”
More than half (57%) of Protestant churchgoers under 50 say they prefer to go to church with people who share their political views. And few adult Protestant churchgoers say they attend services with people of a different political persuasion.
Those are among the findings in a new report on churchgoing and politics from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
“Like many places in America, churches are divided by politics,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “And churchgoers under 50 seem to want it that way.”
The survey did find that it is a relatively small group of people that feels very strongly about this, so perhaps there is something we can find here to be thankful for.
This is not a story from The Onion…
The animals on the Barnum’s Animals Crackers boxes have been set free from their long captivity in Barnum & Bailey Circus cages. As the New York Times reports:
After 116 years of captivity, animal crackers have been freed from their cages.
It was a symbolic victory for animal rights activists, notably People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which had argued that the immediately recognizable yellow-and-red boxes by Nabisco portrayed a cruel bygone era when traveling circuses transported exotic wildlife in confinement.
The new boxes are expected to arrive in stores this week. They show a zebra, an elephant, a lion, a giraffe and a gorilla roaming free side-by-side in a natural habitat, a sweeping savanna with trees in the distance.
…“Throughout our history, we have leveraged and evolved our classic design to drive awareness around key animal and environmental issues,” a Mondelez [Nabisco’s parent company] spokeswoman said on Tuesday. “To continue to make the brand relevant for years to come, we felt this was the right time for the next evolution in our design, now showing the animals in a natural habitat.”
I do like what Matthew Haag, the author of the Times piece, observed: “While the animals enjoy freedom on the box, the small, crisp, sweet crackers themselves are of course still destined for human stomachs or perhaps the crevices of baby strollers.”
Happy Birthday, Jeff Tweedy…
Songwriter, musician, and leader of the world’s greatest rock band, Wilco, was born on this day in 1967. Of course, in honor of the occasion I’d like some Wilco today, please.
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And here’s the man himself, with Punch Brothers on Live From Here: