Secular or Spiritual? This Question is Stupid!

This a TENSION that doesn't need to exist!

I stated in an earlier blog post that there are NO stupid questions. I found one.

There is a tension that people (churched people) often feel when trying to decide whether something is “spiritual or secular”. Let me just start off this blog with the bottom line of my opinion. This question is stupid! There’s a MUCH better way to view our lives! This tension doesn’t have to exist!

For those that have no idea what I’m talking about – the main idea is that there are things in this life that matter to God, but other things that are more physical (or less spiritual) and these don’t matter to God all that much.

pray partyThis means that prayer, going to church, reading your bible, sharing your faith, teaching the bible to your family, and listening to Christian music in the car is all that matters to God. Which in turn says that God only cares about 10% of what you do in any given week. That work, socializing, social media, eating, and everything else you do 90% of your weeks matters to God little or is not honoring to him at all.

I was raised in a church culture that believed rock and roll was “secular.” Didn’t God CREATE music? It was modeled that working full time in ministry was more honorable to God than other jobs.  Are some jobs less honorable to God than others? (Maybe only a few that border on facilitating of immoral acts) Is engaging on social media something that is NEUTRAL to God – it doesn’t really HONOR Him so it’s “secular”.

New Podcast – The Tension is Real Episode 6 – The Messy Middle

The Tension of Grace vs Law Conversations

Welcome to The Tension is Real Podcast. A podcast dedicated to real discussion about the TENSION that exists between Life and Faith and how to embrace it so we can live with purpose and freedom.

Today’s Topic – The Messy Middle (Grace vs Law)
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New Podcast! The Tension is Real Episode 3 – Fear in Faith

Discussing the Tension of Fear in our Faith

Welcome to The Tension is Real Podcast. A podcast dedicated to real discussion about the TENSION that exists between Life and Faith and how to embrace it so we can live with purpose and freedom.

Today’s Topic – The Tension of FEAR in FAITH.

  1. Subscribe in iTunes (Search “The Tension is Real” or plug in this URL – http://mattdawsontv.libsyn.com/rss).
  2. RATE and REVIEW the Podcast in iTunes to help us promote MattDawson.TV.
  3. Listen to Podcast on this page.
  4. Download MP3

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What the church can learn from the Atheist Hotline

The group called “Recovering from Religion” has set up a hotline for people who struggle with doubts about God and religion in general. Read full article in Huffington Post.

So, I’m convinced they got it right on this one. SURE, they’ve embraced it from a completely wrong motive – but they don’t care… there is no God to answer to so there is no ultimate accountability.

One of the quotes from the groups executive Director Sarah Moorehead that got my attention was powerful.

A Cynical Optimist – Is that even a real thing?

Or is it just our attempt to describe our complex personalities?

I have a friend who considers himself to be a “cynical optimist”. I’m not exactly sure if that really is a thing, or just another fancy contradiction we’ve come up with to describe our complex personalities (like girly man or stupid funny)? The truth is, my friend is getting older in age so I think he’s just becoming more of a krumugin over time. (it’s a real word… look it up)

Can you be a hopeful pessimist? Or how about a quiet loudmouth? Even better, a carefree perfectionist?!

I think the reason we’ve tried to identify these characteristics in our lives is because we know that we are never, always, just ONE thing. We do this to try to RELIEVE THE TENSION in us and in others. If we can find a category for it and label them properly – it’s easier for us to understand, manage, deal with, and make the people in our lives more approachable.

However, none of us want to be characterized by just one of these attributes. My wife calls me a Fatal Optimist. She’s convinced that I’ll see the positive in all things until it kills me. It’s true…but that isn’t possible (even for me) all the time. I can get negative easily. I can move to a place of being critical when circumstance are just right.

Pastor Gives in to Unbelief after 30 years of Ministry…

"He Tried his Damnedest to Believe and Now Wants Out"

clergymanRecently, an Atheist blog called “Rational Doubt” came across my FlipBoard newsfeed and I was intrigued by the headline so I decided to read the story. By the end of the article, I was just pissed off! I will always link to articles I reference, so feel free to read it yourself here, but I didn’t turn out well for me.

Why? Because this particular story (the blog has many) is one I’ve heard a hundred times and for some reason I am continually shocked and amazed at how many people blame the “church” or their “religious system” for their lack of faith or belief in Jesus Christ! It drive me nuts!

LISTEN: Someone struggling with belief in the “church” or the “system of religion” they have and making it synonymous with their belief or trust in God is a connection that was NEVER supported by Jesus Christ.

After 30 years of loyalty and service to his RELIGION, this clergyman was tired, sick, and could no longer continue on his current path. So he gave up his faith in God – because he could not reconcile the religious system he was stuck in.

Notice, the article is pretty clear to articulate that he had massive issues with the religious system and the stuff he was preaching. Yet because the religious system and faith in God were tied together… He felt he had to turn from God in order to be set free.

Sir… I’d like to re-introduce you to Jesus! He knew you’d feel this was – but you’ve made the wrong choice if FREEDOM and REST is what you are looking for!

There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question…

So why do people have so many unasked questions?

“Now remember class, there’s no such thing as a stupid question”. I can remember my 2nd grade teacher saying this to us often after she’d had just given us a list of instruction to follow. She wanted to make sure we all felt like we knew what we were doing and why… and I guess she thought this would calm some of our insecurities if we DID have a questions but were too afraid to ask it in class. However most of us still remained quiet with the look of “I’m good” on our face – even if there was a question inside of us.

womanmorningI’ve actually said this to my children as well. Come to think of it – I’ve said this to rooms of adults when hosting a Q&A about issue with life & faith. It’s interesting how we feel like this simple phrase has the power to break down walls of fear, anxiety and insecurity that lies beneath the surface of our “I’m good” exterior.

WHY? If we’ve been given permission to ask ANY questions and that there really is NO STUPID QUESTIONS…why do so many of us walk around each day filled with questions about life and faith and we don’t feel like we can ask them or share them with anyone.

The Early Lessons of Adopting “Better Experiments”

“The future of the church is not going to be built on implementing Best Practices, but on our willingness to attempt Better Experiments” – Will Mancini

I love this quote and it has stuck with me for over the past 2 years.  As a matter of fact, I even added “Better Experiments” to a list of CORE VALUES we have in our church organization.  It’s not printed on the wall or stuck on the back of any bulletin – it’s just a core value that guides the WHY WE DO decisions of our organization.  I encourage our staff to step out into new directions and take risks as we move ministry forward.

However, this blog post is about the early lessons of adopting this value as an organization. I’ve spoken many times to our church about the freedom of being able to say “We don’t know” and walking into the unknown future with God leading the way – but it takes a certain mindset to be okay with tripping, falling, or even being launched into something bigger than you could possibly imagine with nothing but faith that God knows what He’s doing. For most folks, the loss of control (good or bad) is the loss of stability in an organization.  If we live by fear and make decisions that limit our risk in life – then we are not really living. 

God Has Something in store for us…

This is a picture of the text I sent out around 2pm on Saturday to my staff & advisory team (auto correct in full effect!).  I also sent a Facebook message to a few folks as well.  I very rarely send this kind of message out – but the weight of my thoughts and emotions were overwhelming, and I knew that I needed folks to intercede in prayer for this past weekend – if we wanted to experience what God had in store for us.

For those that may have missed one of our service this past weekend, I’ll give you the brief recap.  I was speaking on sex & sexuality in our series “Boy Meets Girl”.  I was focused on the Oneness God created through sex in the Garden, the brokenness we experience because of sin and the fall, and the hope that Oneness can be found and redeemed in God’s Love.  I really felt that God had something in store for us, but also felt the weight of spiritual opposition of this kind of message reaching our church.  I called for prayer.  Services went great… until the last one on Sunday morning…

Freedom @Easter

It’s impossible to solve  problem when we don’t know what is wrong to begin with.  It’s impossible to experience freedom, if you don’t know where you are stuck.  We usually have a theory about what the problem may be in our lives and many of us have been working on “us” for a long time.  We spend money working on us, time in therapy, new toys, gyms, diet plans, vacations, and we think that if we just make better decisions or better choices – we can experience a different outcome in our lives.  However, this doesn’t seem to be working that well.  Self-Help publication is still on the rise and folks around every turn promise happiness is just a small tweak away – but the problems usually remain.

OUTCOMES (we all desire Freedom, but cannot seem to achieve it in every area of our lives)

I want to suggest a radical idea!!!  READY… The problem may be, that we don’t know what the problem may be.