Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Why I write and why you should sing.

In the past, I have been criticized for being over critical of things the church does. For not liking certain Christian radio stations or slogans like "Got Jesus" and writing about what I find disappointing about them.

And I confess, I do tend to be a critical person and am too sarcastic. But I read something last night in 1 Corinthians that made me feel like maybe being honest about where the church succeeds and where it fails is OK.

Here is what 1 Corinthians 14:12 says:

Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

The second half of that sentence is what I want to focus on. It doesn't say, "try to be average in gifts that build up the church." It says, "excel." That literally means "to surpass, to do extremely well." That's a challenging word and it's what I want to do for the church.

I write as hard as I can when I write my blog. I've been guilty of cutting corners in the past but reading this verse lets me know that I can't do anything less than my best for the church. Not everyone has that same idea though.

My friend was the music director at one of the most successful churches in the country and he said that he often heard people say something was "good enough for the church." That is, it wasn't top notch or the best, but it didn't have to be, it was "just for church."

That's bogus. That doesn't excel or make God look like the amazing God he really is. And that's why when someone doesn't try hard I don't feel bad about writing a blog to ask, "Hey, why didn't you try hard?"

At the same time however, notice what we are to excel at is building up the church. I am not called to be really talented at tearing down the church. I am not called to be an expert at what the church does incorrectly. I am called to build her up. To be the very best at building up.

So that's the call today.

Excel.

Build up.

That's it.

7 comments:

alece said...

indeed!

Michael said...

I am a lot like you in that I am very critical of.. well, everything. I don't want people to just settle for "good enough" so I tend to get frustrated easily. This was a pretty big check for me, I need to stop tearing down the things that my church is doing "wrong" and start building it up.

JJ said...

Yeah...this was a good post for me today. Thanks.

seven said...

True. I agree wholeheartedly. I've been guilty of that too... thinking that a movie is "pretty good, for a Christian movie" or being annoyed that Christian radio is so lame. I would like to be more encouraging... to spur the church on instead of just whining about it.
P.S. Michael up there is my brother... just thought you should know. :)

Katy said...

I totally understand what you are saying...and in no way mean to argue with you...however...the verse says to build up the church...not tear it down. Being overly critical is not a good thing at all. I understand your motivation..but it is how you say it and with what kind of heart you say it with. Honesty is good...but not in the form of judgement....know what i mean?

And you have to be careful as well with your tongue (as well as your typing in this internet age)...The words you say and the way you say them can be more damaging than a Tshirt that says "got jesus?".

Also...the "church" is the whole body of Christ. Maybe instead of focusing on all the negative things you want to be seen made better (as are always going to exist) use your talents...if that be writing...for a more uplifting goal. Write letters or cards to people who are down or feel hopeless. Write a letter to your governor or congressman to change laws that don't abide with scripture.

And I haven't checked out your whole blog yet...and in no way mean this as a mean confrontation...(if you see my blog you will totally know that isn't the type of person i am) but just as an encouragement to definitely use your talents to excel the church.

I think there are definitely things in each individual church and the church body as a whole that need improvement. And I agree you can voice your opinions...of course...but I just encourage you to be careful is all....don't give non christians more ammunition against people who are trying to do what God wants them to. And if, for instance, there is a radio station that claims to be christian but plays secular music...pray for the people who work at the station....it will be far more beneficial than being critical. know what I mean?

This was not intended to attack you by any means and hope it was not read in that way. Remember that honesty is good but being critical is not....sometimes there is a fine line! :o)
I just happened upon your blog today...and maybe this was the reason? I dunno...but I do wish you a wonderful week! :)

~katy

Prodigal Jon said...

Katy -
Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate you taking the time to be so thoughtful in your response. And as a generally negative/cynical/sarcastic person, it always helps to be encouraged.
Jon

Anonymous said...

Katy said,"The words you say and the way you say them can be more damaging than a Tshirt that says "got jesus?". "

Some non-Christians can relate to Christians being open and being able to poke fun at "the church". If sarcasm draws an individual to this site and they end up reading the scripture and are some way able to relate it to their lives then that might be one step closer in their walk towards Christ. Although I do agree that it is important to write letters and cards but that just might not relate to some non-Christians.