what’s most important


i saw the above video on a friend’s facebook profile and thought i would comment on it. before i say anything about my thoughts on the vieo though please let me start by saying that i know this is meant to be a humorous attempt to address what is seen as a need at that church. while i have issues with ever using eternal damnation as a punch line i do recognize this is supposed to be a joke and not a theological statement.


the church setup drawing and what it says about that church… i believe that all of our statements, including our jokes, come out of our theology. they come out of what we believe life, faith, and church is all about and what is most important in life, faith, and church. if i have ever had coffee with you there is a decent chance that somewhere during our conversation i have pulled out my journal and drawn the illustration to the right. it is a drawing i use when i discuss how our churches’ architecture and setups reflect what we value the most. i believe you can usually tell what is most important to a church simply by looking at the space they use for their gatherings and how it is setup.

i think this video does the exact same thing. it shows what is most important to this church and how you are supposed to respond to it. just look at the escalation of “fines.” interrupt announcement? throw $25 in the offering plate. interrupt the sermon? i think the punishment is a little worse. yes, i know it is a joke but i do think it shows what part of their worship service they want least likely interrupted?

when a cell phones go off during a tapestry worship gathering, and they do often enough, most people think nothing of it. usually the phone is turned off and every thing continues as before. other times it is such an awesome ringtone that i actually comment on it during the message. finally there are times where it is most GOD-honoring for the person who received the phone call to answer the phone and start a conversation. they do so by moving to the back of the room to carry on their conversation. sometimes after the phone call they actually report on what was said (i remember a baby’s birth being announced during the message). we just don’t believe that a little thing like a cell phone is powerful enough to chase the presence of GOD out of the room.

i think our actions and setup in tapestry show what we believe is most important about our worship gatherings. the music and the message are important but they are not the most important. connecting people with the ONE WHOSE image they bear is what is most important to us. sometimes that involves the sermon, sometimes that involves the music, and sometimes that involves a ringing cell phone.

admitting failure


i have posted before that i am a big fan of the npr radio show “this american life.” i love the way they tell stories. two weeks ago (due to my recent backpacking trip with adam i’m a little behind on my podcast listening) they had to do a retraction of their previous story “mr. daisey goes to the apple factory.” the manner in which they did the retraction makes me like them all the more. instead of doing a small blurb that would probably remain hidden away unread, quietly removing the offending episode, and hoping the whole thing would just disappear they did an entire followup show explaining their failure, confronting the person whose story they had believed and reported, and delving into what the facts really are. 

the manner in which they handled their failure makes me trust them all the more. i figure everyone makes mistakes. every person, every organization screws up every now and then. as a matter of fact, if you are looking for a church and one of the prime things you are looking for is a church an/or a pastor that almost never messes up … well … you might want to look at churches other than tapestry. i won’t say that tapestry messes up a lot but i know the pastor pretty well and let me just say that he has a rare talent for doing rather stupid things. just ask pam she can tell you how often it happens. anyhow, as i said every person, ever organization screws up every now and then. my question is “how to you handle it when you mess up?” do you own it? or do you try to hide/minimize it?

i trust people and groups that own it, try to correct it, and do their best to not make the same mistake next time. i believe that is what “this american life” did in this scenario and therefore my trust for them has increased greatly. which is saying something since i already trusted them a great deal.

premarital counseling books

i have posted before concerning what i cover with couples during premarital counseling.  since i am doing a great deal of premarital counseling at the moment (5 couples right now) i thought i would post the three books that i ask couples read during the weeks that we talk. these books are in constant update (the first one is a new one for me to use and i wish there was a new book i could use in place of the last one which needs a serious update).

do any fellow ministers, or anyone who does premarital counseling, have any other recommendations? i am always open for change.

every day carry


last night i found a new website addiction. every day carry is a website that people send photos to of the “tools/equipment” they carry with them every day. i tend to think that most of the photos are from people who, in my opinion, spend way too much money on their “every day carry” (edc). while i might not care about my stuff being this cool i still really enjoy seeing what people consider their edc.

so the photo above is of my edc. while i carry other things with me in the messenger bag that holds my netbook (an old land’s end convertible messenger bag/backpack that noah used as a school bag when he was in 3rd or 4th grade) the photo above is of the things that i pretty much always have on me when i step out the front door of my home.

here’s a list of the items in the photo

of course, i have tons of other “necessary things” in the messenger bag which is usually with me but the above list are my true edc’s.

anyone who knows the terrell philosophy of the 4 things with which a man can fix almost any problem (something my dad taught me and i have passed down to adam and noah) will notice them all present.

SIDE NOTE – after years of trying and failing, when the servers crashed, tonight i was finally able to buy a “BOG” (bandolier of carrots) from woot. i am sure that it will be awesome when i get it.

a cross GOD

for lent this year i am reading through the gospel according to matthew through a reading plan on youversion.com called “lent for everyone.” in addition to the daily reading from matthew there are some thoughts from n.t. wright. here is part of what he said from today’s reading (matthew 21:23-46).

i was taking a service in a local church when this passage was the second reading. over at the side of the church was a family with a three-year-old boy who appeared to be playing with his toys, taking no notice of the service. but when the reader finished this parable, about the wicked tenants who beat up the owner’s messengers and finally kill his son, there was a momentary pause; and, in the silence, the boy’s voice stood out loud and clear: ‘that’s not a very nice story!’

well, no, it isn’t, and that’s part of the point. we come to the gospels hoping and imagining that they are going to be ‘nice’; that we will find a JESUS WHO tells us it’s all right, we don’t have to worry, nobody’s going to get hurt, no one will even be cross. but with the world the way it is, if GOD doesn’t get cross about it HE is not a good GOD. if HE doesn’t do something about it, sooner or later, HE’s quite simply not GOD.

i hope you know the GOD WHO is rightfully cross every now (while always loving) and the gospel  that isn’t just nice, safe, and comfortable.