SCP Taco Tuesday – Nov. 29th

Well the first SCP Taco Tuesday was a roaring success. Define success you say? Well, I was there, Josh was there and Zeke and Mrs. Zeke were there. Then, Brandon emailed Josh and I are on our BlackBerry’s during dinner, so we felt his love. Then, if that wasn’t enough, Dorsey called my cell phone which we promptly put on speaker and he got to hang out with us for awhile. All of this equals success. I can’t tell you how cool it was to meet up and sit around with these people swapping the stories of our lives.

So we’re gonna do it all over again on Tuesday, November 29th at 6:30 p.m. at the same place, Tortilla Flats on Lake Mission Viejo in Southern California. This gets us a slot after Thanksgiving and before the Christmas parties get started. It should be the perfect time and everyone that can get here is invited. If you want to bring someone, even if they have never been to the site, that would be fine too. (FYI – Taco Tuesday is a bar promotion for the restaurant so no one under 21 is allowed… sorry).

Now, here’s an expansion of the idea. We know that not everyone in the world can join us, but you can have your own Taco Tuesday wherever you are. Grab some people you enjoy (it doesn’t matter if they are SCPers or not) and tell them to meet you at your own local taco establishment on that Tuesday, November 29th. Now the catch is, we would love to know about it. The purpose is to hang out with REAL people and not just surround yourself in this Blog World of ours. Talk about church if you want, talk about God, talk about cussing or drinking. Better yet, do some cussin’ and drinkin’ while you talk about God and the church…. we don’t care. Or just get to know REAL people in your life and find out more about the stories of their lives.

Bottom Line… we aren’t telling you what to do. Just do something on that Tuesday. Plus if you want to pull something together for that night, send me the info (or just comment here) and let me know when and where and we will post it on the site. Hey and don’t forget to take some pictures…. we would love to put names and faces together…. I mean that is if you aren’t in the witness protection program.

Spread the word.

Halloween Costume Contest

OUR WINNER!!


DORSEY

It was a close race, but our first annual (and maybe last) Halloween Costume Contest winner is Dorsey. It started out as a landslide but NinjaNun picked up speed at the end. However, the votes were split between her two entries which created a win for Dorsey’s picture in his beautiful attire. I am sending a $10 iTunes card to Dorsey this week. Congrats.

With only eight votes, it gives me pause to consider if anyone even stops by the site. It takes me back to those Youth Ministry days when I would work hard to plan an event and three kids would show up. My ego is shattered… flattened… I am worthless. What am I here for? What is my purpose? Does anyone even care that we have the SCP site…. I think we should just quit. If no one is going to pay attention, then why do anything at all. Josh and I haven’t done a podcast in over a week, but no one misses it. So why go to all the effort if no one is really listening. (Geesh I wish Pastors would ask themselves that question more often… but I digress.)

If I say Pastors should resign, that’ll get ’em to respond. So that’s it, be controversial. Next thing I am gonna do is say that homosexuality isn’t a sin… oh… wait… NinjaNun already did that on her site. I know, I will say abortion is actually good for the country since it lowers the crime rate…. damn, William Bennett beat me to it.

I got it. How about I say that George Bush invaded Iraq because God told him too and it really didn’t matter that they didn’t have WMD’s… he just had a hard on to take out Saddam and he was bound and determined to gain acceptance and approval from his Daddy. No can’t say that… that might be too close to the truth and no one would comment except for the extreme right-wingers in the crowd. Most of us deep down believe that anyway so it probably isn’t controversial enough.

Alright. Well I guess I am left doing this because I like to. Who cares if anyone is listening or reading…. I will write what I want to write. I will say what I want to say. And if only eight people give a damn…then that’s just fine by me.

Anyway, congratulatons Dorsey. You are now officially a member of the SCP Hall-of-Fame.

F-WORD: Right or Wrong?

Not wanting to hog space from the Halloween contest, but still wanting everyone to know there there is a nice little discussion going on regarding the F-Word over on my personal blog. Check out the comments!

Just an FYI. The personal blog gets you everything I write over here, plus a few extras for FREE. Well, it’s all free actually, but you know what I mean.

Rethinking the Church


Well, here I sit, wondering what I am going to write to let everyone know that I am rethinking my personal church sit-out. It’s funny because I have about three blogs ready to post that further communicate my disdain for the church.

Then, last week I read an interview with Eugene Peterson, author of The Message and someone I highly respect as a pastor, thinker and writer. It has somewhat immobilized me because in this interview he critiques pastors, the way the church manipulates people with language and marketing, and also our own approach to the Christian life. Then somewhere in the middle of the dialogue the interviewer makes this statement to Mr. Peterson:

But many Christians would look at this church and say it’s dead, merely an institutional expression of the faith.

There it is, I thought. The perfect chance for one of my heroes to give me clarity on what he thinks about the church. For once and for all I will have the definitive answer for everyone who asks me, “Why don’t you go to church anymore?” Eugene Peterson is an authority and certainly if people won’t listen to me they will listen to him. I wasn’t quite prepared for the answer:

What other church is there besides institutional? There’s nobody who doesn’t have problems with the church, because there’s sin in the church. But there’s no other place to be a Christian except the church. There’s sin in the local bank. There’s sin in the grocery stores. I really don’t understand this naïve criticism of the institution. I really don’t get it.

Frederick von Hugel said the institution of the church is like the bark on the tree. There’s no life in the bark. It’s dead wood. But it protects the life of the tree within. And the tree grows and grows and grows and grows. If you take the bark off, it’s prone to disease, dehydration, death.

So, yes, the church is dead but it protects something alive. And when you try to have a church without bark, it doesn’t last long. It disappears, gets sick, and it’s prone to all kinds of disease, heresy, and narcissism.

In my writing, I hope to recover a sense of the reality of congregation—what it is. It’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. Why are we always idealizing what the Holy Spirit doesn’t idealize? There’s no idealization of the church in the Bible—none. We’ve got two thousand years of history now. Why are we so dumb?

Did that bastard Peterson just call me naïve and dumb? Hold on there Mr. Smarty Pants, but you haven’t been what I have been through. You cannot understand my frustration with this institution. Who are you to interrupt my peaceful, non-church life and cause me to rethink the church?

Oh, I could argue with him on several points. But the part that sticks out to me is where he says the institution of the church is like a bark on a tree and it protects what’s on the inside. Without the bark, the tree becomes sick.

The church has been described as a family. So when I think of my family as an institution, as bark for protecting those within it, I can see this illustration more clearly. If my children were to step outside the family declaring they could make it on their own, they would be susceptible to all types of troubles. The family is designed to protect each other and that is what we should be doing.

Yet the “church as bark” analogy has its own problems. What if the protection it supposedly offers is weak? What if the bark (the structure) is damaged so therefore it is not designed properly for protecting or caring for those within it?

Then the final part hit me. Peterson says, “Why are we always idealizing what the Holy Spirit doesn’t idealize?” Is that what I am doing? Am I idealizing this institution? Are my unmet expectations the only thing causing me to stay away from church? Do I need to simply acquiesce to the church despite its flaws?

Like I said, I am rethinking the church.

Here’s a link to the interview with Eugene Peterson in Christianity Today. It’s good stuff!

Salvation Challenge


Chad over at Mr. Preacher has been posting some really good stuff lately. You should go there and check him out.

The most humorous recently was a link to the Glory of God Games website and a video introduction of their new game called , Salvation Challenge.

Here, I will let Chad describe it:

“So”, you ask, “how does one play this amazing new game?” Well, it’s simple really. You start at the cross (how spiritual of them) and you and your friends roll the die until you reach Cavalry, where you–and this is truly the best part–slap a red sticker on your head and shout, “Jesus saved me!” then go directly to the river Jordan to be baptized.

But, that’s just where the “fun” begins. The object of the game is not to gain the most money, like in some board games, but to give a million dollars away to Missionary causes. The first person to do this wins the game!

Seriously, go watch this video and prepare to be amazed as a grown man places a red sticker on his forward and screams “Jesus Save Me” in front of the church leaders assembled to watch…or maybe gawk is a better word.

And I present now for your entertainment, “Stupid Church People” in action! Please enjoy.

Thanks again Chad.

A Modest Church Proposal

Here’s an excerpt from a response I gave to the “20 Questions” post of a few days ago. The question revolved around what my opinion was on how the church needed to change for it to be productive.

First, I am just tired of the way the Pastors role is viewed within the church. We as church attenders have abdicated our spiritual roles and rights to the pastors in our congregations. We go to church to be fed, to be motivated, to be inspired, to feel good, to be enthused, to learn….all of which we expect will come from the stage on any given Sunday.

We put so many roles on the Pastor… he becomes a quasi CEO/Office Manager/HR Director/Fund Developer/Recruiter. That’s our fault because our expectations our high.

But it is also the Pastors fault. Pastors accept these jobs and then try to be all things to all people so they might not offend any…and in the process win none. Many are neutered, weak and ineffective yet with an extreme amount of “virtual power”. Pastors need to take back their role as shepherds. Congregations need to fire their pastors as CEO’s and ask them just to love them as people not numbers….(cont’d here).

READ THE COMPLETE RESPONSE HERE.

FYI: This link goes over to the blog that will become the central location for all of Steve’s writings. This “homepage” of the SCP site will seek to communicate the general happenings on SCP, other items of interests, updates for Josh’s blog, the podcast and also Steve’s blog.