Category Archives: Religion

Are We Becoming A Culture of Rudeness?

Good afternoon everyone.  Before I start this post, I would first like to apologize for becoming philosophical so early in the afternoon, but I would really like to hear your thoughts and feelings on this matter to which I’m about to bring up.

This morning, I went to Bethel College’s first chapel of the semester.  When I walked into the ER (not Emergency Room), I was expecting the usual Bethel routine: sing a couple songs, hear a mini sermon, and then be dismissed.  Boy, was I wrong today.

After the usual announcements and a reflection about a professor who passed away earlier this week, the Vice President of Bethel stood up on stage and, with a stern voice, pretty much told everyone to behave in chapel.

He made references to people being on their computers during chapel and how he could see their faces being lit up from the computer screens while on stage.  He also pointed out that people whistled during chapel while guest speakers were giving their testimonials.  He also brought up people texting, tweeting, and facebooking during the speeches.

After providing the examples, he brought up what caught my attention the most.  He said, “People tell me that this is the new culture.”  (Meaning that it is acceptable to be on your computer, texting, talking to the people next to you, etc during speeches, meetings, etc).  And this is what really grabbed me….he then said, “It is a culture of rudeness.”

Before I go into this any further, let me just point out that I am very much so connected to the world via my iPhone.  My life is on my iPhone.  I use my iPhone a lot even during church because my iPhone has a large print Bible that I can see clearly.  But I have self control and I don’t need to check Facebook or Twitter during church or send a text message unless is was a big emergency.  So I understand if people are using their phones to access Bible apps or a Bible on the web during chapels or church.  I am not quick to judge people and don’t immediately assume that someone is on their phone texting or tweeting.  I assume they’re looking at a Bible.  “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” – Matthew 7:1.  And if they’re not looking at a Bible app or web Bible, then that is an honesty issue between that person and God.

Having said all that, let me say this.  I’ve been into some nice sit down restaurants like Red Lobster, Red Robin, and a slew of others and I see people texting while at the dinner table with very little to no conversation taking place.  Are we really moving away from normal conventions of conversation?

But what I take great offense to is that if I want your undivided attention, I should be able to get it without you being on your phone texting or playing a game.  It really is annoying because then I have to fight to get your attention.  So please, just put your phone down for a few minutes and listen.

In a chapel/meeting setting, it really is distracting when someone is next to you during a time which does not belong to you in the first place.  That time belongs to the speaker and God.  Don’t become a stumbling block to others.  If you don’t want to be there, then don’t be there.  Don’t drag other people down who really want to be there.

I have been worried about this kind of behavior for a while now and it sounds like to me that the administration at Bethel…well at least from one person’s perspective…has had it with this kind of behavior and will now kick people out of chapel for texting, tweeting, being on their computer, etc.

To Bethel: If you want to kick people out for displaying that kind of behavior, that’s your policy and by all means, enforce it as you see fit.  But please, make sure that the person is texting and not looking up the Bible or using a Bible app to follow along with the chapel speakers.

I am just as connected, if not more so, than a lot of teenagers and people in their early 20’s but please, exercise good judgement and use some common sense.  Don’t be rude.  After all, I’m sure if you wanted someone’s attention, you would want them to pay attention to you and no their phone.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Feel free to leave a comment.  I will only approve insightful, intelligent comments.  No hate or bashing of any kind will be tolerated.

***REPOST***

12 Things God Hates About Church – A New GCC Series

Hello everyone!

As some of you know, I am a Christian…I do take faith seriously but I’m not one of those Christians who judges people. Anyway, since I’ve been away from my hometown for over a year now, I’ve been looking for a church. I found an awesome church called GCC. I have written up a nice little blog entry about it here.

Last Sunday, I was granted a special behind-the-scenes tour of the church. It’s really awesome! If you are a nerd/geek and love electronics and computer stuff….or even drama/arts/green screen stuff/video editing, etc then you’d totally love this church. This tour brought out the little kid in me though. :D They have slides going from the top floor to the basement. The slides start up by the sanctuary and end in the basement inside a Sunday School classroom! Now that’s a fun way to make an entrance. LOL.  Here is a video of me going down the slide.


Anyway, their next sermon series is called “12 Things God Hates About Church.” Here’s what’s in the program.

Does God hate Church? Nope, we don’t think so.

But we think there are some things the Church has become, some things that the Church has fostered that are unhealthy, detrimental and downright dangerous to God’s plan for the Church to build community and restore lives.

Let’s get candid and look at this list together to see if it’s really possible to teach an old dog new tricks.

Christian Clubs & Bible Twisters
May 1/2

Lone Rangers, Corrupt Leaders & Hoarders
May 8/9

Mediocrity & Enslavement to Tradition
May 15/16

Isolation, Casual Commitment & Religious Clones
May 22/23

Intolerance & Indifference
May 29/30

I’m very excited about this series and can’t wait for this coming Sunday!  I might even have to write up a blog entry after each sermon since this is a high interest topic for me.

My experiences at Granger Community Church

Good day everyone :). I hope you all had an awesome weekend and e everyone is refreshed for another week of school/work.

I had a pretty awesome weekend just hanging out in South Bend. I stayed home and watched Simpsons episodes, slept in on Saturday, and, of course, ate food :). But what about Sunday?

Sunday morning, my cousin and I woke up and went to the 11:30 service at GCC, also known as Granger Community Church.

GCC is a mega church with I’d say around 5 to 7,000 members, with swells of people into the 15,000’s during important Christian events such as Easter or Christmas.

They have two campuses, one in Granger (Main building) and one in Elkhart. I’ve only been to the Granger building so I don’t know anything about the Elkhart campus and how they operate, if they stream in video from Granger or if they have their own pastor there. If anyone from GCC reads this, please comment. I’m curious as how the Elkhart campus is operated.

The Granger campus is very easy to find, being in a centralized location with restaurants and hotels nearby. The Granger campus has multiple entrances so getting in and leaving can happen quickly and efficiantly. Once you pull into the driveway, one could easily become confused and believe they have pulled into a mall parking lot. Fear not, everything is clearly labeled. My roommate just followed a couple cars upon entering the parking lot. There is overflow parking available on the property for those busy times of the year. After seeing how big the parking lot was, I was concerned about how people with disabilities would navigate a parking lot this size in extreme weather conditions. Then I saw a shuttle van. I assume it took people from their cars to the building’s doors. Again, please comment if anyone knows differently.

I’ve heard a lot about GCC from some friends of mine at Calvin College and I knew what to expect in the service, but I knew nothing about the building and where to go when you entered the building.

I was surprised, for a mega church of that size, to find the sanctuary easy to find. It’s right in front of you as you enter the sliding doors. I have uploaded a video to YouTube of the “sanctuary.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxF3Z8ZORb4

As you can see from the video, the sanctuary is really large. And the stage…well, I don’t think I need to say much. Upon walking in, I thought of the sanctuary more of a concert hall than a place of worship. I was proven wrong though. I still felt the praise and worship of the music and I didn’t feel like I was at a rock concert. The music is lively and energetic. The pastor was humorous and was very expressive in tones, voice, and facial expressions. His stories were relevant to the sermon topic as well. I also like the references to pop culture. The sermon title was #FAIL. For those of us on twitter, we know what #FAIL is :). And this church encourages people to use Twitter during the service, as GCC is a member of YouVersion, a website dedicated to churches that offer online notes. It’s a very powerful service and, yes, there is an iPhone app for that! 🙂

I was happy to be in a friendly place, worshiping with enthusiastic believers, and having awesome worship music accompanying a well-done sermon. Below are some pictures I took during service.

This is the stage with a really big monitor behind it

As you can see, this church possesses a lot of awesome technologies. Their giant monitors make things easier to read for people with low vision. See the pic below to see what I’m talking about.

The large screen carries the Praise and Worship song lyrics

I apologize for the blurriness of the lyrics. The video backgrounds on the giant screen were effecting my camera focus. Speaking of the video backgrounds, here is a pic of a video background. They flow with the music, almost like an iTunes visualizations.

An example of video backgrounds

Again, I apologize for the blurriness. And the last pic I have is of the announcements done via video. Nothing special here, but you can see how they split the video on the giant screen.

The Feed Video Announcements

Their announcements video is called The Feed. It just tells the congregations what’s going on in the church and informs people how they can get involved.

As you can see, I had a great time at GCC. I would appreciate feedback/comments from people who are members at GCC and what their experiences have been like.

But there is one last thing I wish to mention. Regarding the kindness and warmness of people, there is one other church were I get that…and that is my home church called Sunrise Ministries in Michigan. I felt like I was in a mega Sunrise Ministries service.

If you want to learn more about GCC, click here.

GCC is also on Facebook and Twitter.

GCC has a YouTube channel as well.

GCC partners with YouVersion as well, a digital web Bible reading service where you can do lessons and follow along with the sermons. Click here to go to GCC’s YouVersion page.

There are plenty of ways to get in touch with the people at GCC.

I hope you found this enjoyable and will try GCC if you’re in the South Bend area.

***UPDATE***

There is an online campus as well where you can watch and participate in the worship service. The online services start on Sunday night at 6:30 and 8:30 PM. Watch at live.gccwired.com.

General Ranting; Life and Religion

Hello everyone.  I hope you all had a better week than I did.  I know some of my readers had just the same amount of bitterness this week as I have had.

A lot of random things have been happening in my life that haven’t been so pleasant this week.

First off, a best friend of mine is going through a difficult time right now.  One of her friends was raped and practically beaten.  She is really messed up at the moment right now.  I don’t know how many of you are religious, but if you are, regardless of your faith background, please offer up prayers for her – that my friend will have sound advice for her friend and that her friend can get immediate help.

As my friend was telling me this, I couldn’t help but think what has happened to the world lately.  It just seems that people are becoming more sinister and more evil than ever before.  What causes this?  What is causing people to want to do harm to other people?

My cousin and I were talking a couple nights ago about faith and what it means to be a Christian and leading with a Christian example.  I can’t help but wonder how many self proclaimed Christians claim to be Christian but act completely different.  The girl that raped my friend’s friend was a Christian at one time.  What happened?  What do her actions say for the rest of us?  It’s very very hard to have a faith based conversation with people who don’t know about Christianity.

There is a song by DC Talk called What if I Stumble. At the beginning of the song, there is a spoken word section that reads as follows,

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

How can Christians go out and minister if we have our own people committing the very things we know are wrong?  That girl who raped my friend’s friend is an example.  She once said she was a Christian and then goes and does something this distasteful and has been doing other degrading things to other people.

I beg people out there, who are religious, to be honest with others, be true to your beliefs and don’t stray.

I beg people, who are not religious, out there to not judge all of us just because we have a handful of people who go and do terrible things.

Those are my pleas.  That’s what’s been on my mind for the last couple days.  I don’t want to step on any toes of people who have different beliefs than I do.  All I want is people to be tolerant of others and others’ beliefs.  I don’t know what the right faith is for everyone, but I know what faith is right for me.  As long as peoples’ faiths are a peaceful, loving, and tolerant of others beliefs, then more power to you and I hope it works for you.

What is your take on faith?  Do you feel that Christians have set bad examples?  Have Christians hurt you in your past?  Feel free to leave a comment, so long as it is tolerant of others’ faiths and beliefs.  I will not accept any religion bashing of any kind in the comments.