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84 Responses

  1. Dan Lilledahl says:

    Let me be the first to say…Saeed…very predictable…very.

  2. Michael says:

    Yes, it was…

  3. JoelG says:

    “my strategy was to stay seated and glare.”


    Greeting time is a good time to use the bathroom.

  4. Michael says:


    I used to stay in the bathroom or foyer until they were done with their foolishness.
    If I got caught in the sanctuary I’d pretend I didn’t know the person I came with…

  5. bishopdave says:

    (Re: the 2007 court experience) “I didn’t know that I got a sentence of 90 days in court until three weeks ago. No one told me.”

    Does that happen all the time? You’re sentenced but nobody tells you? for 9 years?

  6. Michael says:


    That’s a new twist added to the narrative…he didn’t mention that when I spoke with him.

  7. Dallas says:

    The Matt Redmond post was good stuff. The comment about becoming the King of Liars so that your wife can actually be nice to herself hit home. I am also now terrified of the coming years, as my daughter hasn’t been sick in any significant way yet.

  8. Michael says:

    I love Matt…great writer.

  9. Dallas says:

    The combination of the Oprah article and a book of writing prompts that I just bought has just made me very interested in a day in the life of staff security at the local mega church.

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Here is a link to be added – a commanding prayer before the Michigan State Senate. Pastor Thoma brings home the point.
    My prayer is that we would all speak so clearly when the opportunity arises.

  11. Em again says:

    greeting time … what is awkward and memorable is to stand there with the person on your right, back to you, engaged in conversation with the person on their right, the person on your left engaged in conversation with the person on their left and likewise the persons in front of and behind you … do you eavesdrop? try to reach around to someone who is smiling at you further down the line – front or back? … by the time these friendly people end their in-depth “greeting” and turn to say hello to you, someone up front says, “wonderful, a big Jesus welcome to all and please be seated.” lol
    what’s the point? i prefer those greeters at the door with a genuine smiling welcome, myself

  12. London says:

    True introverts use the greeting time to hide out in the restroom. Just like we do before the service starts, and immediately after the service ends, until the parking lot clears a bit.

  13. London says:

    Greeters should be assigned only to put the bulletin on a table near the door so I can just pick one up in my way in. Don’t talk to me, it’s too much pressure. πŸ™‚

  14. Josh the Baptist says:

    Everyone needs to watch the Eugene Peterson / Bono video.

  15. Dallas says:

    Trying to remember where I read it, but remember reading in a comments section somewhere that after this person had moved into a new area, that looking for a new church home, they would get up and leave if the church did a greeting time.

  16. JoelG says:

    Isn’t that fun Em? A big Jesus welcome! lol

    I agree London. One of the worst times in church is when the pastor used to tell us to break into small groups around you and pray together. Eeeesh. I’d make a b-line for the door every time.

    “Community life” for an introvert can be hell on earth.

  17. London says:

    Honestly, it’s the before service time that kills me as an introvert. I can get through the “greeting time” as long as it’s relatively brief.
    The greeter at the door always feels awkward to me unless I know the person well. Even worse..the pastor at the doorway at the end of the sermon….ugh. Just let me out the door…I’ve had all the people time I can take. Don’t make me be dealing with you at the end of the thing. πŸ™‚

  18. Erunner says:

    Mormons will never be orthodox unless they renounce their core beliefs which isn’t going to happen. What will happen is they will continue to us Christian vernacular to fool the unsuspecting and those who think a bigger tent is good and all roads lead to God. Mormonism is of the devil. Period.

  19. London says:

    Yeah..that whole pray together with strangers thing…eeek…I can BARELY pray out loud with people I know well, even though I think it’s important and vital. It is just not something I am very good at unless I feel completely safe, which doesn’t happen often for me.

  20. Dallas says:

    I am an introvert as well, but I have more of a problem with the manufactured nature of it more than anything. It’s been a while since I have had a church, and more than anything, I miss meeting new people, and developing relationships. In my experience, the greeting time had often substituted for community rather than, if you have to, a symbolic nod to the actual community.

  21. London says:

    I think it’s used so people who haven’t seen each other can have 5 minutes to talk. Then they will sit quietly for the whole of the sermon instead of thinking about what they are going to say to each other. πŸ˜‰

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    London – are you that way at work also?
    I am not an introvert, but I am not an extrovert – in fact I would just assume spend all my days in bed.

    But at church I am all over the place, in fact at what you call greeting time. which in many cases is that time to transition the band off the stage – in our church we spend a good 5 min criss crossing the church to what we call “passing the peace” which originally was that time where we are commanded to make peace with our brother before bring our gifts to the altar.

    Now at work I am the opposite – I keep telling my wife I am going to go to Dick’s and buy me a tent to put over my work space and zip it up.

  23. sarahmorgan says:

    Regarding greeting-time, the Catholic church probably does it best — the congregation is specifically told to offer the peace of Christ to each other, and so they turn to those nearby and say “Peace be with you” (handshakes and hugs optional), and then it’s on to the next item in the liturgy. Sometimes just having a friendly stranger say “Peace be with you!” on a Sunday morning is a comforting thing. The directed peace-giving action also bumps the focus off of oneself, and leads it instead towards both Jesus and towards the others.

    When I was a worship leader in a small EFree church, I was one of those folks who put down the guitar and mingled around the congregation during the greeting time, saying hi and wishing God’s peace to folks, friends & strangers alike. I will always remember one young lady, always sitting up front, who unfailingly would cross her arms and glare angrily at me every time I approached, week after week after week. I never saw her outside of church and could never find out what her issues were. But it hurt my heart every week to get that reaction in church, and it added to the list of other unhappy situations I was dealing with at that church, which in total eventually pushed me away from church completely.

  24. London says:

    I am by nature an introvert, but my line of work requires I be extroverted for large portions of the day. I can do that just fine as long as I do not schedule more than 3 hours of back to back meetings. Afterwards, I need about 1/2 hour of “alone time” before the next set.
    Also, at the end of the day, I need about the same amount of time to “transition” from work to social time, before I can go out with folks in the evening.
    Took me a long time to figure that out about myself. I used to just accept back to back meetings all day, where I was leading or actively participating. By about the 4th meeting, I was ready to loose my mind.
    Whenever I can, I will take time to just get out and drive (yes, I get paid for that) or at least get to a place where I don’t have to talk to people.

  25. London says:

    The Bono/Peterson video was good. Thanks for posting it.

  26. Josh the Baptist says:

    After watching the whole thing, I wish Bono would have talked less, but I’m sure he rarely finds himself in situations where he is asked to talk less.

  27. London says:

    I loved Mrs Peterson telling him what to do at the end. Made me chuckle.

  28. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yeah, that was great.

  29. Jean says:

    Sarahmorgan #23,
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The video was good. I like Bono – I think he speaks from his heart.
    The conversation gives me a twinkling of hope for Fuller Seminary – they might still be Christian. πŸ˜‰

  31. Xenia says:

    We don’t have a special time for greeting in our parish. Since we are all standing (no pews), as people come in they might wander around an give their friends hugs and kisses. We don’t have a greeter but in the narthex (vestibule) we have a candle stand, manned by my own dear husband, who gives everyone a friendly smile as they enter and is happy to answer any newbie’s question. Afterwards we have a potluck and that’s where people get to chat and newbies are made welcome.

  32. j2theperson says:

    As MLD mentioned, in liturgical churches they pass the peace. Theoretically, you’re making peace with people you have offended before you take communion, but practically speaking you basically just shake peoples’ hand and wish them God’s peace and move on to the next person. You’re not really supposed to be using that time to chat and catch up on gossip. As an introvert, I find it so much more tolerable than the greeting times at Calvary chapel or my parents’ church. You don’t have to say much and you shouldn’t end up in that awkward situation of being ignored by everyone around you. And I can use it as an opportunity to get my very shy child to practice interacting with strangers in at least a limited way.

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will admit when the passing of the peace / greeting is done, I walk right out the sanctuary door, into the ajoining Elder’s room and get a squirt of hand sanitizer. My wife thinks I’m rude.

  34. Xenia says:

    J2, some of the older people at my parish will bow before people and ask their forgiveness before Communion. “Dear brother, please forgive me.” This seems to be a practice that is fading with the older generation. More often, we make a vague, general bow in the direction of the entire congregation and mumble “Brothers and sisters, forgive me.” If anyone is paying attention, they might bow back.

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Although the passing of the peace is not formally a part of the liturgy, it does help shine the light on the liturgy – that everything is done in community.
    We confess together and to each other.
    We pray the common prayer together
    We confess our common creed together and to each other
    We commune together – while each hears in their own ears the individual delivery of Jesus’ body & blood.

  36. Paige says:

    Loved the article by Matt Redmond…… what a champ dad, but as a mom, I would have rather known what was going on and rescheduled my time off.
    Time off from motherhood. Hahahha Doesn’t exist, even when one’s ‘kids’ are in their 40s.

    Thanks for all the links. Lots to read….. Thank you.

  37. Pineapple Head says:

    I ordered the book about Christopher Hitchens and Larry Taunton’s friendship.

    What is amazing (or maybe more distressing than amazing) is the amount of atheistic vitriol that floods the comments of the article linked above. And I thought Christians had the corner on the market of myopic acridness. πŸ™‚

  38. Charlie says:

    Having read parts of the Message, it is an awful Bible paraphrase.
    In many verses the meaning is added to or altered.

    Just a couple
    Romans 15:13 mentions the god of green hope?

    1 Cor 6:19-21 asserts that those who “abuse the earth and everything in it don’t qualify as citizens in god’s kingdom.”

    Oh well, at least it’s environmentally correct.

  39. CostcoCal says:

    Hey Charlie….I read the ESV but I read the Message with a “grain of salt.”

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    which passage contains the grain of salt? πŸ˜‰

    Here’s the problem – we may all be studied enough to know which bones to spit out. Many / most suck it all down – especially when you have someone as prominent as Rick Warren selectively using The Message passages on the Jumbotron to deceive.

  41. Em again says:

    i have attended R.C. Mass a time or two and found the ‘peace’ greeting kind of fun – great to interact and watch the sincere and the posers and the ones who really hated it, but didn’t want to buck the crowd… but it did IMO leave an air of peace in the hall…

  42. CostcoCal says:

    I would never preach out of the Message.

    But I do enjoy occasionally reading it.

    I wouldn’t fault nor would I encourage anyone else in doing so.

  43. Pineapple Head says:

    I wouldn’t preach out the Message as my primary text.

    At this stage of the game, I’ve been using the ESV for about 10 years.

    But I very occasionally will read a passage from the Message as part of my message to enhance a point.

    I always identify it as a paraphrase before doing so.

  44. Jean says:

    That prayer to the State House of Michigan you linked at #10 is a powerful prayer. No word-mincing, and Christ was preached. Very well done.

  45. Josh the Baptist says:

    The Message is certainly not the most accurate translation, but as my pastor says, what is the best translation? The one you will read.

    The vast majority of Christians never even crack a bible open. If a slightly sloppy translation gets them to read it, I’m ok with it.

  46. Jean says:

    Some people expect too much from the Message. It’s a paraphrase. It’s Eugene Peterson’s interpretation of the text. As an interpretive resource, it has some value.

  47. filbertz says:

    Michael’s Wendell Berry article is a must-read.

  48. Jim says:

    Thanks for the link to the Bono Eugene Peterson video. That was a very enjoyable watch.

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean, the great thing was that it was a real prayer and not an eyes closed preaching at the senators.- he spoke of the Gospel, the Christian soul and unlike Rick Warren at the Obama inaugural – he prayed in Jesus’ name and not the God of the Hindus and the Muslims etc.

    He included himself in the “we” of each petition.

    I thought it was good.

  50. Jean says:

    The OT prophet prayers typically did not have the prophet standing aloof from the sins of the people.

  51. Charlie says:

    That was a great link and prayer by Pastor Thoma.
    He should take that on tour to the other 49 states.

  52. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Peterson’s stance, as best I remember it, was that the ideal would be everyone would read a more academic/scholarly translation but the paraphrase could play a role in making it easier for those who wouldn’t otherwise read an NAS or RSV to read the Bible. I, er, know someone who had to interview him a long time ago for a student paper. A majority of people who have ripped on the Message are free to like it but they too often seem to be holding it wanting by a standard it was explicitly not aiming for. It’s like condemning Christopher Nolan’s Batman films for not being works by Kubrick or Godard.

  53. Xenia says:

    When I was in my twenties, I figured I ought to read the Bible through from Gen to Rev but I was daunted by the KJV my church used. I got a Living Bible and was able to read it through with enthusiasm and was ready to read a more serious version after I had a handle on the basic plot. I imagine the same is true of The Message.

  54. My objection to the Message was not the work Peterson did – but he did do what we all would do – turn it into our personal hidden commentary by the words we choose.

    My issue is with Pastor, like Rick Warren who use it to make a point that is not there. And it is not just the Message – preachers like him do it with all loose translations.

    But then, that probably isn’t much different than the many CC pastors I remember in the day who would say “well, in the original Greek it means this.” and then you research it and find that not a single one of the 20 translations you look to translate it that way.

  55. brian says:

    A very helpful list of links, I must say I really enjoyed the Bono / Peterson interaction. I struggled with the aspect of emotion, most of my Christian life being honest and / or emotional before God especially grief were the vilest of sins one could commit. God wanted three things, efficiency, effectiveness, and success, and emotions were basically far to inconvenient which is also a sin. The Message touched me and I liked Mr. Peterson even though in my early Christian faith he was shown to be a heretic and condemned for adding to God’s word. I never saw that I always found him to be faithful.

    I found it moving and I am reluctantly becoming to understand God does not hate my guts anymore and that is saying a lot for me. Thanks for sharing these links.

  56. Dallas says:

    I’ve definitely softened on the Message over the last couple years, mostly because pretty much everything else I’ve read our heard from Eugene Peterson has been really great.

  57. Nonnie says:

    Everyone should read the FB comments on Michael’s link to this. Wow!!

  58. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael’s link to Linkathon? I don’t see any comments?

  59. Jean says:

    Yours was the 59th comment.

  60. Josh the Baptist says:

    Um, OK?

    Am I missing something here?

    OHHHHH, Jean,l I get it. No, I was asking Nonnie which FB link she was talking about. Sorry πŸ™‚

  61. Steve Wright says:

    But then, that probably isn’t much different than the many CC pastors I remember in the day who would say β€œwell, in the original Greek it means this.” and then you research it and find that not a single one of the 20 translations you look to translate it that way.
    That’s a far too simplistic criticism and without any actual examples it is hard to know what you are thinking of…sometimes between languages there IS a difference when you translate so why would ANY English translation look that way?

    However, I will join you in one complaint. People who reference something in “the original language” that are just parroting a commentary and could not personally explain what on earth they are talking about….but they don’t say “Hey, the guys who know Greek say this means…” Instead they fake as if they know what they are talking about…and it is dishonest, prideful, and wrong.

  62. Josh the Baptist says:

    You will hear a lot of bad exegesis (not just CC-pretty much everywhere), when people reference the Greek to make a certain point. In most translations, there is a list of scholars in the front. Those guys chose the word they did based on context, syntax, etc…Unless you are a Greek scholar, you’ll usually be better off trusting the translating committee. A better point could be made by saying, “Now, the ESV translates this word as …”.

  63. Em again says:

    #63 – sound advice… i have respect for the preacher or teacher who does it that way – i think most of us pew sitters do

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    At best they should say the word means this and looking at several translations you can see how the translators struggled to put it into English.
    However, the pastor does not seem to have difficulty putting it into English.

    But both the individual translator who works with no committee and the pastor who is trying to show off his Greek skills, add or subtract to the word of God.

    I haven’t looked that close at the Message – does he use translator foot notes?

  65. Xenia says:

    I have heard sermons where the pastor, armed with a Greek dictionary, chose one definition out of ten and not the traditional definition, either, to prove a pet doctrine.

  66. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – not in any copy I have seen. I also don’t know which manuscripts he used. I would assume just a UBS Greek New Testament. Which in itself is a collection of textual choices.

  67. Steve Wright says:

    Most Greek insights in our English translations do not deal simply with the definition of a single word from Greek into English

  68. Steve Wright says:

    I suggest Daniel Wallace’s Greek textbook Beyond the Basics to illustrate my point @68. I don’t think he has a single word in that book where he focuses simply on a definition/translation of a single word.

    and it’s a big book….

  69. Josh the Baptist says:

    What do you mean, Steve?

  70. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh, sorry. Your #69 cleared it up.

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    and perhaps preachers should refrain from “in the original Greek, this really means…”

  72. Josh the Baptist says:

    Some pastors are actually qualified to translate Greek. The vast majority are not.

  73. Steve Wright says:

    Josh, I did say “most” insights. I do think the vocabulary is interesting in many places but that is not really the same as MLD’s conplaint but rather a function of the language itself. Greek has a more extensive vocab than English as we see in many words and knowing which Greek word is being translated is usually insightful. Translators can only translate into English with the words they have IN English at their disposal

  74. Babylon's Dread says:

    Preachers who base sermons on the definitions of Greek words sound impressive but obscure the truth. Language is so dynamic that definitions can hurt much more than help but it sounds so good.

  75. Josh the Baptist says:

    Gotcha Steve. When you followed up in #69, I understood. And I agree.

    You also have things like sentence structure, verb, noun, adjective agreements, forms..all kinds of stuff that would play into the translation of a word.

    So, a preacher may be correct in saying “this word (or usually root) literally means”, but given the context of the sentence, how it relates to the words around it, etc…the meaning could be quite different.

    (And that wasn’t really for Steve, who knows Greek better than I do, just a comment.)

  76. Steve Wright says:

    If Greek is handled accurately, it never “obscures” the truth – it is the language God gave His word in. (NT of course)

    The key to that statement is “if” of course. πŸ™‚

    That is why the commentaries I like are heavy exegetical ones by scholars who also are subject to a general editing process as well.

  77. Josh the Baptist says:

    I always heard W.A. Criswell preached directly from the Greek and Hebrew. Don’t know if its true, but I assume it is true of some preachers. In doing so, they would be translating every word they read. I don’t think that kind of reference to the Greek is the problem, though. It is usually the singling out of words, and always some alternative definition to a single word, that just happens to perfectly make their point.

  78. Steve Wright says:

    Don Stewart does, Josh.

  79. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I doubt the preach directly out of the Greek – they have already done their work and planned it out ahead of time – otherwise preaching directly would offer up some pretty strange word orders and sentence structures.

  80. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – not if they are very fluent with the language.

  81. Steve Wright says:

    He reads it straight from the text, MLD. I’ve sat under it and even had my wife ask me “What translation is he using?” – Answer – No translation.

    Why do we think it impossible someone would make the educational effort to become fluent in another language? Doesn’t it happen a million times over in other contexts in our world?

  82. Jtk says:

    It’s crazy how many introverted articles there are out there. These introverts have to proclaim all kinds or stuff about themselves regularly….

  83. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    because when it’s through mass media the only flesh-and-blood person you “might” have to interact with is your editor. πŸ™‚

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