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‘Spiritual’ Category

  1. Rethinking the Offering Plates

    October 16, 2013 by 25hoursadaymom

    The church I attend is plenty modern and forward-thinking. Our website is professional-looking and well-designed. Our music is upbeat and current. (We’ve even had a Jesus Rapper a time or two, plus one iPad-assisted auto-tune in recent memory.) We can sign up for events digitally and even click-to-give. Which is something I’m mulling over just now.

    Since I recently stopped carrying a purse, I’m moving rapidly towards any option that permits me to avoid writing a check. I’m digitizing and simplifying whenever possible. This means the end of putting a check in the offering basket on Sunday. At this point, though, I’m pondering the practice of passing the plates to begin with. This practice has strong ties with “old style” church attendance, namely, social pressure to give.  Isn’t it something of a relic in a modern church?

    I understand the monetary necessities of church. It’s not as though I believe there is no necessity of contributing. If you attend church, you should contribute. It’s the structure of plate-passing that gives me pause. Are there not numerous ways churches can provide an opportunity to give without it being so repugnantly placed in the midst of the service while the audience is captive?  At my church, there are sign-up kiosks whenever major events take place, allowing members to sign up before or after service with a staff helpers. Could there not be something just like this for giving, in addition to the “Give On-line” button on the website and reminder of its availability in the program? Or just unmanned stations with a deposit opening for cash or checks and a card reader for debit or credit giving?

    I wonder if this is on the radar for our church in the future. It should be. What say you?





  2. Serendipity

    June 18, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    It’s weird when things dovetail. When they just fall out of the sky and land joined together, right in your lap. I like it and at the same time, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up a little.

    I was thinking of doing a book review on here for a great book I recently read called The Power of Story, by Jim Loehr.  This is a fascinating form of self-help (I hate that term), personal growth book. It’s very oriented towards the corporate world, but the application is relevant to anyone.  The gist of the book is that our lives are stories, stories with multiple threads, such as fitness, spiritual life, relationships, work, etc.  The author continues the story metaphor throughout and towards the end, urges you to physically write one or more “new stories” for yourself in whatever area needs a new story. Being a writer, I am intrigued by this form of exercise. And yet, the 240-page book is sitting with a bookmark inserted at page 233, where I balked and hesitated about actually writing a new story or two. It is inexplicably hard to actually write a new story, especially when you know you’re writing it because you plan to make that story yours. The copy sitting on my nightstand is a library copy, due tomorrow, and I’m out of renewals. I think a secret place in me wanted the book to go back before I made myself write a new story.

    So, there I am, ignoring story, even while I’m telling myself in the back of my mind that that’s a great idea, a worthy goal, definitely something I need to do. I stroll into Barnes & Nobel, killing time (and clearly, needing another book to read about as badly as I need a side of bacon, having a wanna-read list as long as my arm and about 6 kindle books in the queue already). I meander over to the Christian section, thinking I want to read Seven Sacred Pauses. I spot a few books by Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, which I loved.  He has a book out called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, so I flip through and impulsively decide to buy it.

    Here’s where it gets weird. By page 39, Don says this, “…I wondered whether a person could plan a story for his life and live it intentionally.”  What you need to know is that is the exact premise of the book The Power of Story. The exact premise. Don continues to use this story metaphor in speaking about areas of his life he wants to get straightened out. He even has a chapter where he spoke to a friend of his about the story happening in this man’s family and the man abruptly decided to go build an orphanage in Mexico. Helping orphans. There’s a story I’ve had nibbling at the edges of my brain for about 10 years. More serendipity. Totally goes with Jen Hatmaker’s 7 as well.

    Someone Higher Up wants to tell some stories with me, I think. It’s weird and fascinating when coincidences line up this way. I feel like I have a sixth sense turned on, like I’m getting the “feelies” about something about to happen. It makes me excited, even as it scares me to death. I’ve followed these sorts of trails before and they haven’t always gone well. But then, maybe that was just Part I of a good story. I just need the courage to write the rest.