Category Archives: People

“Church” Jargon

HomileticsBob Kaylor, senior writer for Homiletics Magazine, has gotten me to thinking about my vocabulary, particularly in regard to people who are not currently part of a church community.  I’ve struggled with what name to use to refer to this rather large group.  Sadly, I’ve resorted to the all-too-common term, “unchurched.”

Kaylor writes that being “churched” is not necessarily a good thing and “being in church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than being in a garage makes you a car.”  I like that.  It reminds me that I need to be more concerned about a person’s proximity to Jesus.

Plus, you wouldn’t necessarily want a new believer to look like some of the “churched” folks.  Kaylor has an 11–person playlist of people that you might want to avoid looking like in church.  They include the following six:

  • De-churched people populate the church rolls but don’t attend anymore.
  • Roto-churched people drift from church to church based on whose youth/children/music program is “hot.”
  • Mega-churched people can only engage in worship with a praise band, video screens, and Starbucks in the foyer.
  • Casual-churched people drop by when they have nothing better to do.
  • Mal-churched people never miss church services, sit in the same pew, and never, ever smile.
  • H2O-churched people – that’s “Holidays, 2 Only.”

LifeSpring wants to attract people who have no current relationship with Jesus and/or with disciples of Jesus.  That can be very different from people who simply “go to church.”  There’s far too many of that kind of person.


Monday_morning_bluesIt’s Monday morning, and I’m planning my day.

Pastor’s often take Monday as their day off because they feel so toasted after a full day of Sunday preaching and activities.  It has been documented that the adrenaline rush that comes with preaching results in a “crash” after the adrenaline subsides.

I can testify that the adrenaline crash really does happen.  However, I still don’t take Monday off.  As a friend of mine once said, “Why would I want to use a day when I feel exhausted as my day off?”  So I use Monday to write, think, rest, have lunch with folks, etc.  It’s my all purpose day.

Today’s weariness was not improved by the fact that I read in today’s paper about a friend’s arrest on DUI.  It is dismaying to me that the newspaper feels compelled to write so publicly about people’s failures.  I’m gonna pray that my friend will do well in rehab, and come back better than ever.

I got my office cleaned up last week, except for a table sitting in the hallway with a stack of stuff on it.  I bought a chrome organizer to store stuff in, however, I can’t find a place to put it.  Bev appropriately summarized it by asking, “What are you going to do with that?”  Amen.

It’s Monday all day.  Whoopee!


Kindness 01Gavin Whitsett wrote the book,, Guerilla Kindness, and was the father of the Random Acts of Kindness movement.  Whitsett said that he wanted to remind people of the kind impulses that all of us had.  In a world that is often rude and unkind, it’s nice to have the reminder.

The Bible also reminds us of the importance of kindness. Micah said in answer to the question, “What does God require of you?” Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God, Micah 6:8.

In today’s sermon we began a list deeds that are expressions of kindness.  All of these deeds require attention and determination, and they do not occur by accident.  Below is a beginning list of suggested kind deeds.  Kindness, by its nature, is otherly.  What would you add to the list?

Continue reading Kindness

Missio Dei

Missio DeiFred Peatross, from Huntington, West Virginia, is a friend of mine that I’ve never met in person.  Our relationship is facilitated by e-mail.  I live in California.  We became friends because of Jim Henderson who lives in Seattle, Washington.  West Virginia, California, and Washington—this is a great picture of our times.

Fred’s new book, Missio Dei, is an insightful look at what is happening in Western culture, particularly as it relates to disciples of Jesus.  Twenty years ago the e-mail relationship Fred and I have developed would have been unheard of.  Also blogging, Google, My Space, and social networking.

Continue reading Missio Dei

A Misunderstanding

KohlsBev was looking for a new dress to wear to the Chamber of Commerce dinner and installation.  We went to Turlock because Bev likes shopping there, and we ended up in a Kohl’s.  I found a chair in the customer service area and took up residence.  Why stand when you sit?  I had a book to read.

That’s when I became aware of tense voices at the service counter.

A lady was trying to return some dishes she had purchased the day before.  I had a hard time trying to figure out why she was returning them.  I do know that she and the Kohl’s person waiting on her were not communicating at all.

Continue reading A Misunderstanding


In his book, Letters to Malcolm, pages 92–93, C.S.Lewis wrote the following:

Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for ‘down here’ is not their natural place.  Here, they are a moment’s rest from the life we were placed here to live.

I have been working on a summer sermon series about the Fruit of the Spirit, and this week I have been writing a sermon about joy.  That has prompted me to think about and observe whether the people around me appear joyful or not.  It has been my observation that, in too many cases, joy is woefully lacking.

Continue reading Joy


ConvergenceA friend of mine contacted me last week.  We have not seen each other for years.  The e-mail said, “It appears that you and I have arrived at similar places.”

I’d call what he was describing a “philosophical six degrees of separation.”  Even though people may be separated by miles and time, they often find that that are linked together by lessons learned, conclusions drawn, and decisions made.  Convergence that transcends miles.

Our proximity in spite of distance is not unusual.  Others are having similar experiences.  Common to all is a basic cynicism that existing church culture cannot be changed and a belief that to reach the world with the gospel requires leaving traditional church organization and going “outside.”

He described his situation and resulting frustrations.  I must say, I found it odd to be sitting outside that context.  Even though I spent years in it, his context now seems like a distant memory to me.  Like recalling a house I used to live in as a child or a place once traveled to.

I hope he has the courage to make needed changes.  It is risky business, to be sure, but it is also the path to a more joyful life.


“I’m never to busy for your referrals.”

PeopleI really admire my friend Russ.  He is one of the kindest and most attentive people I know.

It’s not unusual to find a message on my cell phone.  “Hi Bruce, this is Russ.  I was just calling to say hello and see how you’re doing.”  It takes him about a minute to do that, but it really makes my day to get the voice mail.

Recently Russ and I were talking about what it takes to make organizations hum.  Again, he knows what people need in order to be encouraged and empowered.

I would summarize what he said in this way.  1) Take time to talk to people.  Not e-mail.  Talk.  2) Make sure that you don’t take people for granted.  Let them know that they are important to you and bring value to your life.

I think that is good advice for any group of people.

New Header

Tower TheatreEver since I started blogging a year and a half ago, I’ve wished for a header to my blog that was more Merced specific.  My wishes got a little closer to reality today.

Tom Bustos is helping me redesign the header using Merced imagery.  Now, when you look at monoLogue, you will be reminded that this is about a venture that takes place in Merced, California.

Today I got a tour of the new Merced County courthouse.  It’s a really nice structure, and we got the tour from Judge Frank Doughtery who is the person who loved this project to completion.  That, in itself, was an honor.

The courthouse is so new that it’s not fully occupied.  Everyone walks around with big smiles.

The courthouse is modest but attractive.  It is worlds better than the portables and other “temporary” buildings that the County had to use for decades.  I thought that this was a tribute to what responsible, intelligent, and motivated people can do.  It was impressive.

Rap Lyrics

My friend Dwight Whitsett wrote the following about Rap music in his blog. He cracked me up, and I thought his talent was worth showcasing.

In the interest of being “current” and “hip,” I suppose I should have my own rap song. I’m looking for a producer who can make a fat, gray-haired man look fly to the hip-hop crowd.

As I researched rap lyrics (I only barfed twice) it occurred to me that some might not appreciate my efforts. Well in the words of rapper Jay-Z as he answered his critics (sorry I won’t quote the whole couplet in the interest of decorum) “If you don’t like my lyrics you can press fast forward.” (99 Problems). Continue reading Rap Lyrics