I’m a huge fan of the website Stuff Christians Like. The author, Jon Acuff does a phenomenal job of taking an inside look at church life as a whole, and finding the parts that are just plain funny. Fortunately, he goes beyond bulletin bloopers too. The best part is that he presents his observations in a way that you are able to laugh and say, “I do that!” while gently being convicted. As a preacher’s kid, he’s got great insight at the most benign things that make us who we are. Topics like, ‘How metrosexual is your worship leader’ and ‘Not knowing which meals to pray before’ are just a couple that bring laugh out loud responses.
The genius of any great comedian, is that there is a part of their act that speaks truth. In this book, that truth is very convicting.
Below is one of the excerpts from his recently published book that really hit home for me:
Complaining about not being ‘fed’ at Church.
If you want to become a professional church grumbler, not just some amateur occasionally throwing rocks at the worship service, minister, or anther attributes of the church, there’s one key phrase you need to know:
“I’m not being fed.”
This simple complaint- the teaching is lacking, the sermons are thin, the worship music is not uplifting enough, or a million other things that people find inadequate- is the official complaint of church grumblers the world over. If we could figure out a way to monetize it, we could permanently end world poverty. Forget cold fusion; if we could generate energy every time someone says this phrase, we’d be able to break our dependance on foreign oil in about four minutes.
It’s such a perfect thing to say because it deflects any attention away from me, while at the same time creating false humility and making me seem spiritually mature and advanced. “It’s not you, it’s me. I just want to learn. I’m admitting that I am incomplete. I’m hungry for deep, real spiritual teaching. I’m humbly confessing that I’m not getting enough out of church. Please help me get the rich faith-building experiences that I so desperately need.”
Just be careful who you say this to. Pastors are starting to get wily. When perfect people tell my friend, “I’m not being fed,” he replies, “I’m perfectly happy to spoon feed my one-year-old. But if I’m still spoon feeding him when he’s five, we’ve got a problem. Here’s a fork, feed yourself.”
Wow. This steps on some toes:
“It’s such a perfect thing to say because it deflects any attention away from me, while at the same time creating false humility and making me seem spiritually mature and advanced.”
It’s sad, but I’ve heard this soooo many times. What’s worse is I’ve said it a few times.
It’s so easy to make things about me.
What does it look like when this mentality takes over? Maybe it’s church hopping to find a place that ‘meets my needs’. Or churches more worried about attracting members than worshiping God. Perhaps it’s parents pulling kids out of the youth group entirely because they don’t like the song selection. My guess is, we could probably fill in the blank on that question for a while.
So what do we do?
The Bible gives us stories of God providing in spite of the harshest conditions. Or God working in the midst of the impossible. We see a call to feed others. We see a connection between feeding the ‘least of these’ and a stronger relationship with God. We hear a call to provide a meal for those who aren’t blessed enough to understand the meaning of a snack.
We don’t see Jesus trying to accommodate those who have a whole menu to choose from.
May we be people content with some fish and The Bread.
One love, one heart.
Stuff Christians Like / Jon Acuff
Simply Christian / NT Wright
She & Him / Volume Two
Live From Montreal / Ben Harper and Relentless 7