Dear minister, meet your congregation.

Link: Dear minister, meet your congregation.

Yesterday on SCL, Jon asked what we’d be afraid to confess/admit at our church. I think that as ministers it’s time we stop assuming that our church is the exception to the rule, and start focusing less on sin and more on the one who came to seek and save sinners. This ought to be a sobering reminder for us that, as I said in my comment over there, the gospel is NEWS as opposed to instruction. Stop telling your people how to stop sinning and clean up their act. Tell them of the one whose act was clean, who offers his record in exchange for their broken, ugly one.

What’s the point of confession?

I am stuck on the thought that what I witnessed yesterday over at Stuff Christians Like, though good, is not confession.  I did a quick perusal of the words translated as “confess” in our English Bibles (thanks to my Logos Bible Software, it took all of 5 minutes) and found out that Christian confession, from a biblical standpoint, is almost always viewed as positive, joyful, and beneficial.  What I also deduced is that “anonymous confession” is an impossible contradiction of terms, biblically.

See, though it may be therapeutic to give voice to the things you would never tell a soul as an anonymous comment on a blog, you have not yet confessed your sin.  You’re close, but you’re not there yet.

My heart broke as I read through the comments on that site, for the fact that we don’t understand the gospel if there is nobody in our lives with whom we can share the darkest parts of us.  There was a part of me that wanted to shout, “Is that all you’ve got?” after reading those “confessions.”

See, having walked with Christ for somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 years, I’ve begun to notice a pattern.  Every time I think “there’s nobody that struggles with this particular sin…” and then I share it with a group of guys, about half of them struggle in the same ways with the same things. And I am increasingly unsurprised by the depths to which my heart can go.  I think some of the most hateful things, on a very regular basis.  My heart resonated with many of the things I saw “confessed” in those comments.  But my heart also deeply resonates with the fact that Christ has freed me from myself.

The thing we need most, as ministers, is to resist the lie that says our people are not bad people.  There are two categories of people.  (1) Bad, crooked, depraved people in need of redemption; and (2) Jesus.

That’s not to say that God doesn’t give us a new heart with new motives and new direction, as He certainly does; just that we ought not to think that our old heart dies when our new one is born.

The other thing we need to take from the “confessions” is that people need the gospel.  Over and Over and Over.  Daily, hourly, minute-by-minute.  We all need to constantly remember the gospel, or good news that Jesus has become sin for us (even the ugliest sin we can think of) so that, in Him, we might become the righteousness of God (by GRACE).

My favorite word in 1 John 1:9 is “just.”  It doesn’t say God is “faithful and merciful” (which would make sense) but that he is faithful and JUST.  Because Christ died for all of my wickedness (some of which is ongoing), it is his justice that is satisfied by my confessing (joyfully, and without reservation) that wickedness.  He would be unjust to condemn me for something for which Christ already died.


So, I got a guest post over at “Stuff Christians Like” which is the Christian-blogical equivalent of me suiting up and snagging Kobe’s starting spot. (or at least John Paxson’s spot on the ‘93 Bulls.  Who’s with me?)

With a guest post of such magnitude, I thought I’d take a second here on my blog to introduce myself, with the overt desire of persuading several dozen of you to become regular readers.

I’m Ben.  Not to be confused with Little Ben, who is far cuter.  Most of the stuff you experience on the blog was posted by me.  My beautiful wife Jacqueline (Jacq for short, but try to avoid “Jackie” if you would…) posts from time to time, and mostly works the pictures-of-the-little-guy angle.

Vocationally, we are hedonistic drug dealers.  Our drug of choice is grace (the unmerited, unearnable, irrevocable thumbs-up of the only One whose opinion matters), and we deal primarily on the college campus.  We got hooked on grace in college, and have been junkies and dealers simultaneously for the past 7 years (Ben) and 4 years (Jacq). We’re involved in a plot outlined in Matthew 28:18-20 to hook people from every nation, people and language on the good stuff.

Non-vocationally (hobby-ally?) put me down for a slab of graphic design with a side of total frustration when I try to make those designs into web pages.  My semi-ineptitude at CSS is illustrated in the fact that above you see my latest twitter update, but not my wife’s.  I’m working on it.  I love the creative process and really long to give my creativity a non-sucky outlet. Some of those outlets? Video production, photography, creative writing, and graphic design.  I’m still very much a rookie and formally untrained in all of the above.  I am slightly more-trained as a guitar player and worship leader, which also serves as a creative outlet.

To get to know us a bit better, here’s a list of posts I think you ought to check out:

My experience with rice cereal and the pinky.

My 25 things.

LB and the monster faces (video)

Why I do what I do.

LB and the blocks (video)

The tag cloud to my left (your right) is also a great way to find out more about a specific segment of the blog.  The bigger the word, the more I have to say about it.

I should warn you that if you poke around enough on this site, or stick around for more than a few minutes, I’m bound to challenge you to worship with your wallet.  Here’s a post clarifying that phenomenon.

Why do I blog?  Here’s the approximate motivational breakdown:

60.21% Keeping friends, family, ministry partners, and others up-to-date on our life, in the never ending quest for actual authenticity.

32.45% Creative expression outlet

7.34% Challenging folks in their view of God, money, and life.

(I’m also willing to include up to 10% extra in the event that you are a high school or collegiate football coach and require more than the standard 100%.)

So, I’m glad you stopped by.  Bookmark us, follow one or the other of us on twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed over there—>, and swing by again!  I’d also love it if in the comments below you’d share where you’re from.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go give Kobe his jersey back.

Stuff Christians Like a little too much.

I, being a guest poster at SCL, have noticed a problem that is nearly universal among Christians.  Christians like Jon Acuff.  But they take it a single, insidious step further than that.

They’re Acuffist.

I know, I don’t like throwing around political buzzwords any more than you like reading them, but this needs to be brought to the light.  A quick perusal of the “most popular posts” on his site will show you that nearly every one that has any staying power was written by Jon Acuff.  The posts that have the most comments? Also Acuffian posts.  And even though my spell-check thinks that’s a ridiculous word, I fear the slide toward a single, monolithic Christian satire blog “experience” is well underway.  It’s subtle, but the Acuffitude of his website is beginning to take over areas that previously lay untouched by his wit and charm.  Did you notice how he subtly moved in on the Power Team, that staple of Christian satire?  Readers find themselves pining for his next Twitter update, the next comment he makes on his already-Acufficient blog post of the day, or the next witty thing he’ll say on his facebook “fan page.

Jon’s actions are not what is up for debate here, though.  It’s the overt way in which other bloggers are forgotten, marginalized, and disrespected that has me taking a stand against Acuffism today. I’ve developed this test so that you can see just how Acuffist you really are.

1.)Which of the following Stuff Christians Like was written by a guest poster?

(a)The Popcorn Collision
(b)Near Death Visits to Heaven
(c)The Campus Babysitter
(d)Those are made up post titles, not written on his blog.

2.)What’s the last SCL post you commented on?

3.)Is your answer to #2 a post written by Jon Acuff?

4.)What’s the last SCL post you laughed out-loud about, or felt strong emotion while reading?

5.)Is your answer to #4 a post written by Jon Acuff?

6.)Can you name, without looking, just 5 of the guest bloggers who have posted on his site?

7.)Have you ever taken issue with the fact that Jon Acuff is the only blogger listed on this site, despite no less than 30 guest posts written by at least 10 other bloggers?  Or is that sort of favoritism OK with you, you Acuffist?

I don’t even have to work up a score card for this one, because I’m sure that you’ve noticed your own Acuffism at this point.  And identifying the problem is the first step.  I’m starting a support group today, here at my blog.  Together, we can stamp out Acuffism for good.  Do your part today by commenting on today’s non-Acufficious post.

What’s one way you commit to ridding your life of Acuffism?