Kent Bush | @KentBush
Nothing makes adults at church squirm more than hearing a pastor tell them to turn to Malachi 3:9-10 ("You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need." As soon as they hear it, they know the collection plate has been a little light lately and it is time to hear the tithing message.
But as a 10-year-old, the Malachi sermon never scared me. My tithe was a quarter and dad gave it to me on the way to church. That’s a good deal and if we could figure out a way to do it as adults, tithing would be a lot easier.
But as a kid, I can tell you I knew about stress at church. It wasn’t tithing. It was that Sunday night service when you walked in and saw something stacked on the table up front with a sheet draped over it.
Jeff Weddle | @anti_itcher
Heaven seems like a pretty sweet place. Much better than earth. I want to go to there.
Several times over the years of listening to sermons, the idea is presented that there will be an entrance exam to get into heaven. God will ask you a question and you better have the right answer, or else no heaven for you!
Usually the question is along the lines of, “Why should I let you in?”
Robert Stevenson | @ap_527
Due: February 7th; to post: February 9th.
This was the mandate for my first contribution to BackRowOnline and I was not looking to disappoint. Other ministry commitments demanded that I have the article in earlier than the due date, so I got to work as soon as I could. I wrestled over which type of article to write, decided upon a Twitter Spotlight, and then spent more hours combing through tweets than a Spaceball with a broken afro pick. It was not until the night I ultimately submitted the article that I realized *I* would have the last humor piece posted before the Lenten season began. There are many Christians who would forego social media and/or pinch down their web browsing altogether during the next forty days; I would get to be one of the last voices they read before turning the faucet down or off completely. Looking to backtrack my missed opportunity, I thought to myself, “I should write something profound, yet laughter-producing. Deep, yet dedicated to a smile. Soul-searching, yet side-splitting.”
“Nuts to that. I’m almost done with this article and I ain’t startin’ over. I haven’t even finished my Sunday School lesson yet!” **SEND**
I am not discounting the Twitter Spotlight, nor the hilarious The Sarcastic Pastor (@RevSarcasm) who we showcased. But I was stuck with this question: How did Lent slip by me?
As my wife is fond of saying about holidays in general, “It comes at the same time every year!” Our church has done a forty-day corporate “Daniel-fast” every year for the past nine or ten years. From the beginning of Ash Wednesday till the end of Easter Sunday, we are in God Mode. No… no, not “God Mode” like invincible, code-bending, unlimited power-up having… no. Like, “focused-on-God” Mode. Dedicated-to-the-Lord Mode. Jesus-take-the-wheel Mode.
The pastor had already prepped us about fasting from the pulpit. I had discussed Lent season sacrifices at length during a Bible study not even a week prior. My body is already pre-trained to say “so long, lasagna; praise the Lord, cantaloupe!” Yet, and still, the fast seemed to sneak up on me. I was still pondering these things after the fast started when the answer became loud and clear while going through Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love” audiobook.
You’re lukewarm, homie.
You are not hotly, fervently seeking God during this time. You are religiously box checking. You are not cold either. You did not say “I ain’t doin’ the fast this year.” You said “eh… I’ll think about it.” It was kind of a given, but not given much thought. “Yeah, I guess I’ma do it. I mean, everyone else is too, right? The guys at work know I’m Christian, so shouldn’t I be walking in the cafeteria with cashews and a veggie burrito bowl? I mean, if wifey’s fasting I guess I will too. She does the grocery shopping after all, right?”
Lukewarm people ride the fence, but I have yet to meet a man that can comfortably straddle a picket fence. Lukewarm Christians make Jesus want to puke (Revelation 3:16). Do you know what IS lukewarm? Boiled hot dog water that has that film over it because it has been sitting on the stove for six hours. Now picture yourself drinking a 20oz. bottle of that (my apologies if you hurled all over your device).** Gross, right? If we would not drink that, why would we expect God to drink that?
Brody the Puppet | @BackRowBrody
It never fails. There I am on Sunday morning, enjoying the sermon like I always do (gotta love that Kevin Welborn!), when all of a sudden, a scream so high-pitched Matt Coker's glasses shatter hits my ears and doesn't let up for what feels like 17 months.
Church babies. They are the worst.
So, a couple years ago, I decided to confront one particular baby who was giving me active grief week after week. Here is how that interview went:
Brody the Puppet is a puppet. Named Brody. He's been fired from the Church's Puppet Ministry and has been banned from Children's Church. He takes no guff and pulls no punches. He thinks Elmo is a straight up punk. He is also infrequently on Twitter. Currently, you can contact him at @BackRowBrody.
Corey Wade | @cwadepga
I have a confession to make: I enjoy secular music. Now take a minute to collect yourself … It’s okay, I can wait.
Ready to continue? Are you sure? Alright.
So as with any self-respecting Christian with such a dirty little secret to hide, I have had one of two choices: 1) Develop a Biblical worldview that allows for the listening of edifying non-Christian music, or 2) Find a way to make my favorite secular songs more Jesus-y.
As with most of you, I chose the latter. Here is my guide to baptizing your favorite songs by genre:
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Kent Bush | @KentBush
Remember when the biggest controversy in Christian music was whether the kiss when heaven met earth was sloppy and wet or merely unforeseen?
Those were the good old days.
As Christians we deal with serious and life altering issues. I wish we didn't deal with them in such silly and cynical ways.
Because most Christians have faith that is as narrow as their own minds and as deep as a summer puddle, it is much easier for them to judge others and cast aspersions than offer any degree of kindness or understanding.
People of faith really need to stop looking through the walls of their glass houses and put down the magnifying glass that they use to inspect the actions and motives of others’ beliefs. We would all do better spending that time looking in a mirror, but we don’t.
Facebook is filled with blogs about “why people don’t sing in church anymore” or articles critical of singers who perform rather than leading worship in a church services.