Tag: church

Does Your Church Have a “Police Not Welcome” Sign?

 

IMG_20160810_171303Mike usually fell asleep during my sermons, and that was okay. It was about twenty years ago; I was serving as interim pastor at a small church. I knew Mike, a police officer, worked a graveyard shift Saturday night, and yet he managed to be in the Sunday morning worship service. I tended to preach too long at the time, and Mike may be the only person who really benefited from the long sermons — he got an extended nap time. Mike came to mind recently, when I had the opportunity to meet with Kate Braestrup, a chaplain with the Maine Warden Service and a best selling author.

For the last 25 years, she’s had a connection with law enforcement. Her first husband was a Maine State Trooper who was killed in an on-duty auto accident. Her daughter currently serves in law enforcement. Needless to say, she’s invested in the subject.

It’s always a bit daunting to write about good writers because I wonder if anything I write might be written better by the subject of my writing. (For instance, Kate would no doubt have done a far better job with the previous ungainly sentence.) But I write on, partly because in this time when police officers find themselves in the center of public controversy, I believe the Church needs to consider how we can best minister to these men and women.

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The last two Sundays, I have attended mass here in Birmingham. The first Sunday, I went to check out the Lebanese church, since I knew some of my relatives would give me a hard time if I didn’t. The church was beautiful! While it’s not my first time going to a Maronite mass, the combination of […]

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There has been a lively discussion going in regarding The Divisiveness of Church Music and I discovered the thread before it blew up and felt unable to throw my two cents in. I have a lot of thoughts on this, greater than the 250 word limit my Coolidge account affords me. So I wanted to touch on that […]

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The Divisiveness of Church Music

 

shutterstock_96110261For the past few decades, churches have lamented the exodus of young people. Their answer has been uniform: Make the service more like a rock concert through praise music, and the young people will flock to church in their skinny jeans and hipster vests. Nowadays, it’s more common to find special music consisting of electric guitars, drums, and lighting effects than traditional choirs and organs. But has turning church into a dressed-up version of Bonnaroo really helped bring the coveted Millennials back to church?

I am vehemently against praise music, though I thoroughly recognize that this is a matter of personal preference. The pervasiveness of praise music has made finding a church I like very difficult. It has made it difficult to attend church with friends, because I just stand there with my hands folded in front of me while everyone around me sways their hands in the air, singing with their eyes closed. The difference in worship style preference has even made dating difficult in some instances. Still, I was interested to see how many of my fellow Ricochet Millennial contemporaries have a similar bias towards traditional music. They may not be as militantly against contemporary worship as I am — I will turn and leave if I walk into a sanctuary and see it looking more like a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert than a church service — but they still seem on the whole to enjoy the traditional worship style.

In short, I contend that this:

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This is something of a sidebar to Vicryl Contessa’s post about modern church music.  It is relevant to the post, but something of a long tangent, so I’m putting it out here instead.  A church’s music often reflects the underlying health of the institution.  When the congregation is singing, and especially when the congregation is singing […]

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Through the years on my blog, which covers issues of concern to the Christian church (writ large), I have occasionally touched on the hot-button issue of sexual orientation. Today I admit to finding myself increasingly reluctant to do so, because the topic has become such a lightning rod, and because I know so many people who are touched by this […]

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Does Hell exist? This question arose in another thread this week, one which the O.P.’s author had really hoped would focus more closely on what is beautifully and uniquely Catholic when it comes to sex and birth control. She didn’t want her thread to get highjacked, especially by people determined to explore the unlovely matter of eternal damnation.  {http://ricochet.com/the-beautiful-and-unique-teachings-of-the-catholic-church/#comments) Preview Open

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Of Prophets and Ponzi Schemes

 

shutterstock_144458128David McQueen made a lot of money from his business ventures and decided to share some of that wealth with his local church. Over a few years, his companies — Accelerated Income Group and Multiple Return Transactions — had earned him more than $45 million. During that time he gave about $300,000 to Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, Mich. which was spent on various ministries over a six-year period.

This inspiring story of hard work and Christian charity fell apart last year when McQueen was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme. He had promised investors a 10 percent return and paid interest to the early marks out of investments from the new marks. McQueen is now in a medium-security federal prison and has been ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution — money that he spent a long time ago.

To help make the conned investors whole again, the government is going after any McQueen money it can track down. That’s why Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Borgula asked Resurrection Life Church to turn over that $300,000 in donations. The church said no.

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The Presbyterians have voted to recognize homosexual “marriage”.  Their definition of marriage has been altered to read “commitment of two people, traditionally a man and a woman…”.  This is a major Christian denomination explicitly defying the plain word of God as set down in the Bible (homosexual behavior being “an abomination unto the Lord”).   […]

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Pope Francis has apparently taken inspiration from William F Buckley, Jr. The first two hundred names in the Catholic phonebook are now eligible to become cardinals.  It used to be that one rose through the clerical ranks and won a job that automatically came with a cardinal’s red hat, such as becoming the archbishop of […]

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I would like to move the debate into a new area, one where we compare the unintended consequences of each side. If we do this, we can consider which side’s unintended consequences are more harmful to the idea of “limited government.” Wouldn’t it be interesting to consider the debate in this new way? I think […]

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Why Don’t Men Go To Church?

 

4444852856_41d891db05_zIt’s been a controversy for a few years now, and it seems that at least one huckster is always selling a book on it: it looks like men are checking out of not only school and careers, but church too.  I can personally attest that I felt better about Christianity as an apostate.

When my other half decided to go shopping for a church, the men I met at some of the prospective houses of worship made me want to threw up a little. My God, what a bunch of worthless weenies. Seriously, it was like looking at a pet that was mangled in some farm equipment and just won’t mercifully die. You want to love it, but you’re physically repulsed at the same time.

Our present church merely annoys me, so it’s tolerable. I can occasionally get down with the sermons. But they harp on about why I should give them money an awful lot. I go to the traditional service, as I like the old hymns more than the homoerotic love songs for Jesus and, for whatever reason, I like the company of older men better. I generally listen to the choir — which is really good — and then half-listen while I tune out and think about my week. The church does run a mission for men to hang out with school kids and provide a masculine influence in their lives. I may sign up for that when I get out from under traveling for work, and grad school, and all the other responsibilities that come with being the Atlas that keeps the world up.

Worship or American Idol-atry? — Jon Gabriel

 

My wife and I have dragged our daughters to many churches over the past several years. We’ve enjoyed most of the sermons, congregations, programs and pastors, and my wife has liked most of the music. As for me, I’ve pretty much given up on finding any worship music that doesn’t drive me a bit batty.

For background, I’m a plain-old Christian, sans denomination, though I have enjoyed Lutheran, Baptist, Anglican, Reformed and other congregations over the years. Most of the churches I’ve attended are evangelical, with several that would fit into the “megachurch” category. Most have offered inspiring teaching with solid, if not terribly deep, theology. But the music… oh heavens, the music.

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It was not long ago I mentioned in another post that one of the primary problems of the modern church in America was that it leaned far too much towards the emotive. I didn’t elaborate at that time as it was an entirely different topic and I didn’t want to derail a discussion any more […]

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