Before I begin, I would like to get one thing straight—I am a Christian, I love Jesus, and am a youth minister (crazy, I know). With this in mind, I also believe that a sense of humor is very important in this life, and that if you can’t laugh at yourself, you should not laugh at all. From this post, I do not mean any disrespect to anyone, and have caught myself or some of my very best friends saying and doing some of the things in this post. So please keep this in mind as you read, and have a sense of humor about how ridiculous we can be as Christians at times.
The Phrase, “Doing Life”
I totally understand the sentiment behind this phrase. By saying this, we want to say that Christians are meant to be living in community, and that we are serve and love each other. From a non-Christians’ standpoint, however, this sounds like you’re in a cult.
Example: “Hey! How’ve you been?”
“So great, just doing life with people, you know?”
If you’re talking to a non-Christian, they’re left to wonder, “what does 'doing life' mean? Are they just loving their life? Are they living with their family? Who are they ‘doing life’ with? Have they joined a cult? SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS!!!”
Answering the Question, “How are You?” with the Phrase, “God is Good!”
God is good. Always. So when someone asks me how I’m doing, they’re asking how I (as in, ME) is doing, not God. If you’re talking to a Christian, they know that God’s good! They want to know how YOU are. (Also, when I ask how you are, I want an honest answer, not “good”. I should write a blog about that soon. *hint hint Friday, February the 12th end hint*) When we answer this question this way, we alienate any non-Christians, immediately creating an uncomfortable and uninviting conversation for them.
Asking the Question, “Is this Secular?” About Music
We live in a world (especially in postmodern America) where a vast majority of our culture is secular. When you hear music that you enjoy, enjoy it! It doesn’t truly matter a great deal if something is secular or not. I used to be incredibly concerned about if all of my music was Christian or not, until I realized that God does not care about this. God cares about what’s in your heart. So if “secular” music harms your walk with Jesus, don’t listen to it! If it doesn’t bother you, go for it! I know for me it’s helped me to do what Paul tells us to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “take every thought captive”, knowing what is going on in pop culture and keeping me stay in the loop with what’s going on in this world, being able to better understand people in my world and their mindset (top 40 music is a great indicator of thought processes and what people find important) as well as finding some good jams in the process.
Using the Word, “Blessing” at the Drop of a Hat
Something I have once said was something to the extent of, “yeah, I know I’m late, but there was a car accident, and it looked really bad. If I wasn’t running late, I would have gotten into an accident. So really it’s a blessing from The Lord.” While I do think that God blesses us, it’s rarely the type of blessing that we think of. Blessings are rarely in the form of monetary gain, safety, or things we hashtag on Instagram about. If there’s one thing Jesus promises us, it’s adversity and trouble. In America, we don’t need to really worry a whole lot about this, but in reality, our blessings are through the spiritual blessings God gives us, and ultimately we are blessed through the death and resurrection of Christ and gift of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
Being Extremely Worried about Music/Movies/Media Being “Family Friendly”
Christian radio drives me crazy (read this to learn more about that) on it’s OBSESSION with being “family friendly”. While I do understand that parents want their children’s innocence to last as long as possible, the Bible isn’t family friendly. For example:
- Acts 1:18 (the aftermath of Judas hanging himself) — “Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.”
- Judges 4:21-22 — “But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, ‘Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.’ So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple.”
- Song of Solomon 7:2-3 “Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.”
After reading these bits of Scripture, one can CLEARLY see that the Bible wasn’t written to be a “family friendly” read, but to show God working through our world, sinfulness, and even the fact that God gave us sex. (Which is why I included song of Solomon. The entire book is basically about the "married people things".) I’m not saying don’t be wary of what your kids watch and see, but don’t be afraid of the world being the world. If anything, it’s a great teaching opportunity to teach your kids about the world from a Christian mindset.
Pressuring Our Kids to be Perfect
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be consequences from our actions, or that parents shouldn’t disciple their kids. What I AM saying, however, is to let our kids make mistakes and not treat it as if the world is ending. In my experience from working with kids in youth ministry, something that continually causes kids problems is feeling like they have always let down or disappointed their parents. None of us are perfect, we all sin, so why are we so surprised when kids do, too? When a kid screws up, forgive, give consequences, and move on. Don’t shame the kid or hold guilt over them for extended periods of time. All this creates is a dislike for their parents, a dislike for God, and an environment that a kid wants to rebel from. The less we pressure kids, the more likely they will be to accept a loving, grace-filled, constantly-forgiving Savior.
Stealing Ideas from Popular Culture
One of the truest things I have ever seen was a tweet from comedian Tripp Crosby, which asked what worship music will sound like for the next five years because of the new Coldplay album. Sure, I like Coldplay as much as the next white person, but it really bums me out that the Church (as in Christianity) as stopped being innovative and creative. Christianity used to be known for its amazing artwork and creative inspiration with things like the Sistine Chapel, statue of David, and ALLLLLL the other artwork that came out of this era. Now, we’re known for making lists of “family friendly” versions of “secular” music, too. On that, see point #3. (Side-note, the website linked to “family friendly” music comparisons looks like it’s from the 90s. Churches need to up their website design game, too. It’s awful.) MAKE IT STOP. LET’S BE CREATIVE AGAIN AND MAKE OUR OWN STUFF. I believe in us!!! We can do it if we start trying!
Misquoting Scripture / Using Scripture Out of Context
As Christians, we are pretty great at is taking Scripture and making it fit our life, instead of the other way around. Here are some of the most misquoted bits of Scripture:
- Jeremiah 29:11. God DOES know the plans He has for you, but in this verse He was yelling at Israel for being awful, saying that “I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU”, DANGITT!!! (God didn’t really say dangitt, but He essentially was in the context of the verse.) “YOU NEVER DID WHAT I ASKED YOU TO! PLEASE LISTEN!!!” (If you don’t believe me, go read the entirety of Jeremiah 29, or the entire book.)
- Philippians 4:13. As Christians, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, but God doesn’t care about winning a football game or getting over a first-world problem. When Paul wrote this, he was in chains, being beaten, but remained steadfast in his faith and proclaiming the Gospel, saying that he can “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” DANG. Flips the meaning on that one, doesn’t it?
Selling the Gospel by Saying It Gives People “Passion and a Purpose”
The Gospel absolutely gives us a passion and a purpose, but unlike two Corinthians, that’s not “the whole ballgame.” The problem that this can have, however, is we start worshipping our “passion and purpose” more than God. Yes, God does give you a “passion and purpose”, but God doesn’t change when you don’t feel that passion. He still deserves our adoration and worship when we don’t feel His presence, inherently making us have less passion, and not feel quite as purposeful. This is a mistake I have made in my own life. So remember: keep pressing towards God even when you don’t feel it. I've been there, it sucks, but He’s there, I promise.
Arguing on Social Media
“Pray for those who persecute with you, and then argue with them through the comment thread on Facebook” is something that Jesus never actually said. For some weird reason, however, I continually see fellow Christians arguing with non-Christians on social media. Something to do the next time that you feel the need to start an argument with someone:
- STOP. (collaborate and listen…)
- Ask yourself, “has my mind and worldview ever been changed through a comment on Facebook?”
- Realize, “no. This is pointless and won’t actually do anything. If I really cared about this person and their worldview, this would be much better as a calm conversation over a cup of coffee or a beer, instead of yelling at each other (or not yelling, because you can’t see emotion through a screen) on the internet.”
- Then don’t argue. It doesn’t do anything besides make you and other Christians look like jerks. This is easier said than done, too, because our pride really likes to "win" arguments and have the last word.
So basically, don’t try to start an argument on this post if you read something you didn’t like. I’m not going to take the time out of my day to argue with you, nor will either of our minds change...but hopefully you found this list helpful or humorous!