In spite of the fact that Randy 'no-blog' refuses to co-blog, guest-blog, or start his own blog, he routinely points me to some interesting stuff. Here's a list of 50 interesting questions to serve as conversation starters from Today At The Mission. If I heed the blogger's advice "don't think of these as criticisms. Think of them as conversation starters", then I like them a lot.
1) Why don't we give church members keys to the kitchen?
2) Can we throw more parties?
3) Is this Fair Trade Coffee?
4) Do you know how many people say, "how are you?" and don't listen to the answer?
5) Are you one of them?
6) I'm coming back to the heart of worship. I'm sorry Lord, for the thing that I've made it. Did I miss something or is that song still all about me?
7) How many people in the congregation on a Sunday morning have the gift of preaching?
8) How many of those people - gifted for the edification of the church - get to preach?
9) If God has given each believer a spirtual gift, and all those many and varied gifts are intended for the edification of the church, why does our church practice bear no relevance to this fact whatsoever?
10) What would happen if there was no big building for us all to go to on Sunday morning?
11) Can a coffee shop breakfast with the guys still be church?
12) It's Sunday morning and the worship band is struggling. Am I going to be okay with that?
13) Why does every event have a guest speaker?
14) If I only had 12 people in my congregation, and one of them ends up turning on me, one of them flat out denies he even knows me, and the rest bail out just when I need them most... would my ministry be a success or a failure?
15) Are you as tired as I am of being called a 'sheep'? Actually, I don't mind that so much, it's the 'stupid, dumb sheep' part that kind of bugs me.
16) How is it that nobody likes a gossip, but they hardly ever gett called on it? Tell a dirty joke at the church social and get told right then and there. Gossip all day long and... nothing. And no, I don't want to tell them, either.
17) Why is bigger better?
18) Green Prosperity Hankerchief. Need I say more?
19) Millions of immigrants coming to our country every year, and every single one of them needs Jesus. Has a more glorious opportunity ever been so inelegantly squandered by the church?
20) If our entire bible consisted only of the four gospels, how would our religion look today?
21) Why don't we stop explaining our faith to atheists? Yes - my faith is completely, totally and absolutely irrational. That would be the 'faith' part. Duh.
22) Of all the sermons about forgiveness you've heard, how many times have you seen a preacher stop and say, "Okay, this is how you forgive someone...?"
23) Why Thomas Kinkade?
24) Is playing cards still a sin?
25) Have you ever heard someone pray and they say something like, "...and Satan we bind you from blah, blah, blah..."? Every time I hear someone do that I want to stop them and ask when they started praying to Satan.
26) Sometimes I also have to ask... Are you praying to the congregation?
27) And then sometimes I also want to ask... Is this a prayer or a sermon?
28) "We thank you father, that you, father, have blessed us father, that you loved us father, and that, father, you are here with us now father." Why do people pray like that?
29) I have yet to be at a congregational meeting, church business meeting, elders, deacons or committee meeting of any kind that does not open with a devotional message from the bible. Does anyone else find this odd?
30) And is anyone else no longer surprised at the number of times that devotional message is about unity?
31) If a church event is meant to be an 'outreach' to our friends and family, shouldn't we be going to where they are? If not, perhaps we should change the name to 'inreach'.
32) We went from old hymn books to new hymn books to song books to overheads to Power Point. What's next?
33) Wooden pews. What were they thinking?
34) Remember bus ministry?
35) Everybody at church knows what the rules are, everybody knows how to behave, what's expected of them. No-one ever sat you down and said, 'these are the rules...' but you know them anyway. How did you learn the rules? Of course, you can't really understand this question until you get a bunch of folks together in a street church, where no-one knows how to behave in church...
36) Here's a little game to play. Sit in church. Pick a man or woman - someone you sort of know, but don't know real well. A Christian person. A nice Christian person. Ask yourself, "If they fell off the wagon and ended up downtown, living on the street, sleeping in their own urine and vomit... would I go get them?
37) Would any of us go get them?
38) Or would that be the pastor's job?
39) Why are we afraid of art?
40) There's crackers in the communion plate. Is it just me or...?
41) Why do missionaries always live somewhere else?
42) There's a guy outside of town with the words, "Jesus is alive" painted on his roof. His neighbour has painted the words, "So is Elvis" on his roof. Which guy would you rather have a beer with?
43) Rich Christians are blessed by God. Absolutely destitute Christians must live on faith for their every need. Which is better?
44) Which is better when you haven't eaten in three days?
45) Why do all our pictures of Jesus look like us?
46) You have a Christian Fish on your car. What are you attempting to communicate, and to whom is that communication directed? Why? Okay, that's three questions. So sue me.
47) Why is it that none of us can walk to church?
48) Why is there a copyright on bibles?
49) When will we stop praying for revival and start living like the revived?
50) Where do we go from here?
I don't get number 23. Someone help me out. Regarding the rest, I might take a poke at some of these in future blogs. For now, hopefully it serves as something for you to think about. If you comment (seriously) on a particular one, then I will likely put that one at the top of my list to answer.