Archives For Rants….

Frustrations of the day that deal with nothing.


No doubt you have heard the craze coming from the South Korean artist PSY and his song “Gangnam Style.” I actually heard the song before it went global because a former kid in my youth group actually came across the song. The YouTube video (which I am not even going to link) has received over 990 million views which may be the most watched YouTube video ever. Then, as I learned, there is a dance (shown in the video) that is called the Gangnam Style dance. It’s a fad and it is all over the news, radios and teens love it.

The problem I have is that for all of the notoriety it has received the song is still horrible. If people would look past the catchy beat and just listen to the song they would notice one important fact, most of it is in Korean. What is he even saying? Who cares it has a good beat. This reminds me of how cheap music is today and no thought process is given to lyrics and music composition. Where are the Pink Floyds, the Led Zeppelins, Simon and Garfunkel or even Metallica. No… this generation’s contribution to music will be a Korean dance that looks like a Kangaroo trying to cross its short legs. I am not against that genre either but it seems it is cheap, not thought out and fades quickly.

I digress…

Which leads me to the point of this post. Youth ministry has the tendency to be like fads but both have the ability to come and go. What we youth ministers need to push for are the redemptive aspects of ministry that are not catchy but are relational, incarnational, kingdom-oriented.  There is a tendency to want to do what the big names are doing like Doug Fields, Josh Griffin, Marko and others and we fail to realize are own giftedness that is nothing close to those guys. Those guys would tell you to avoid the fads and to do what is important by having a purpose in your ministry and to stick with that.

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When to Defriend on Facebook

September 10, 2012 — 4 Comments

Two weeks ago I defriended someone on Facebook for the first time. That term “defriend” might need some parsing. It simply means to remove someone on Facebook from being your friend. At first I thought it was a hateful thing to do because it is like a passive-aggressive way at handling an issue. I mean the grown-up thing to do is to let someone know about the problem and talk about it. Yet, the problem with Facebook is that a person can be on your friends list and you really don’t even know them that well. I have 1,128 friends and I doubt I really know all of them. So there is this false sense of friendship that Facebook gives people which is really not acceptable terms of friendship. So defriending someone is not cruel but necessary in certain circumstances. I want to give some criteria for defriending people which I think is acceptable. Remember, this is my opinion so these may vary given certain contexts.

  • Defriending someone is acceptable if you never, ever talk to them. Let’s be honest, if you have been my friend on FB and I have yet to hear from you or talk to you then there is no real difference in me defriending you. You just won’t see me in your friend’s list. It’s ok to do this because we don’t talk anyways. Nothing changes.
  • Defriending someone is acceptable if they are posting vulgar content. This includes those nasty jokes, off the wall comments filled with expletives and unacceptable pictures. If there is content that I do not want to see then I do not have to see it. I could counsel them on their content but odds are, they really don’t care so why not save the hassle and defriend them. If they are really close to you then a simple message requesting they clean-up might not be that bad of a gesture but if you are not close to them then simply defriend them.
  • Defriending someone is acceptable if you are tired of seeing the endless political and religious posts that are pejorative, hateful and polarizing. As a citizen of this country I understand you have a right to an opinion but that does not mean you have to “saddle-up” and gather the troops and slam people on the “left or right” or people who believe differently than you do. Just because you have the right to an opinion does not mean you have the right to be a jerk (insert Chick-Fil-A posts here). If you have an issue with someone don’t post it on FB slamming people with your intellectual superiority. You will be defriended.
  • Defriending someone is acceptable if you are protecting your family. I have not had to do this but if there are suspicious people on your friend’s lists that you simply do not feel comfortable with (especially if you have photos of your family on FB) then defriend them. You are not placing judgment on them (since you are not posting about this) rather you are simply protecting your family.
  • Defriending someone is acceptable if you are tired of the one million requests for farmville or any other weird game request. What’s up with that? I get tired of getting on FB and seeing, “You have 18 new requests and they are poker, Farmville, alumni, on and on.” Please don’t annoy people with this.
  • Finally, defriending someone is acceptable if you simply do not want certain people seeing your private business. Facebook has made one’s private life very much in the public. I have had countless people come up to me and say, “Your kids on FB are cute,” or, “I saw some pictures from when you went to San Francisco and it looks like you had a good time.” Now that’s fine but there are certain people who just don’t need to see all of that information.

What other suggestions do you have?


If you follow my posts then you probably know that I have a tendency of getting annoyed. We all get annoyed of various things for various reasons. I will give you a few things that annoy me…

  • Parents who fall into the comparison trap.
  • Men who pee on the toilet seat. You women thought you were the only ones who hated this!
  • People who chew food with their mouth open or who smack their lips.
  • People who talk, text, or check their phones while I am trying to have a conversation.
  • People who have more than 20 items in the 20-items-or-less check-out lane.
  • Complainers, whiners and those who love to bicker.
  • Anyone in ministry who cares more about their title, position or status than they do about the gospel.

I could go on and on. You get the point. So how do you handle those pesky little things that annoy you. Here are some suggestions…

  • Be a peace-maker (Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18). If what annoys you is simply something that is your opinion then try to be peaceable with people. What makes you right about this over them?
  • Check your attitude (Phil. 2:1-11).
  • Ask some discerning questions. Why am I acting this way? Why am I so easily bothered about this?
  • Confront those who annoy you in a loving way. If someone is texting during a meeting you are holding do not lash out sarcastically at them in front of everybody simply ask that we turn our phones off before the meeting.
  • Finally, use what annoys you as an opportunity to learn about you, about people and about God.

I attended a youth function last week and had a conversation with a teenage girl and asked her about something and she gave me the answer that I have grown to despise with everything that is in me. My daughter did the same thing this morning as I asked her about why she was not including one of her siblings during play time. She responded with the worst answer to a question.

The answer was: “…Because!”

“Why are you hanging out with people you know are going to bring you down?”

“‘…Because.”

“Why did you sleep with that person when you knew that was all they wanted?”

“…Because.”

“Why did you lie to me about not doing your homework?”

“…Because.”

“Why do you never talk to me about what is going on inside of your heart?”

“…Because.”

I am not sure what bothers me the most: the fact that they are hiding information or that they are too lazy to tell me what is really going on. I don’t get bothered by minutia questions that are really insignificant but when it comes to the major questions I get upset. I remember one time I asked what I thought was a basic, fundamental question in Christianity…

“Why do you participate in the church?”

You’ll never believe the answer I got…

“…Because.”

I responded

“Because why?”

With the shrug of the shoulders they said, “I don’t know.” I guess this kind of stuff bothers me where I feel like people should have an answer for things. I totally get it that sometimes we just don’t know and I completely support that idea. Sometimes we just don’t know and maybe never will. But to answer, “Well…because” is cheap and let’s you off the hook. I think that type of answer is indicative of the direction of our churches. Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research recently released some findings within the Southern Baptist Convention that showed a decline in membership and baptisms. Read the article for yourself: “SBC 2011 Statistical Realities– Facts Are Our Friends But These Are Not Very Friendly Facts.”

What’s the point? Nominal membership, half-hearted devotion and a cheap gospel is what has come from some churches. “Why do you go to church?” “uhhh…because bro!” If you were sent to hell and you asked God, “Why am I going to hell?” and he answered, “Because!” would that be fair?

If you hide your sins, you will not succeed.
If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy.

Proverbs 28:13


Many of you know that occasionally I blow a gasket and decide to rant and rave about certain things and then I seem to cool off and write more posts that are nice, warm and make you want to snuggle up with your dog in a snuggie. I have a serious rant that has been brewing for years now and I can no longer keep this rant contained. It is about those annoying people at gyms that get on my everlasting nerves. I work out at the YMCA on a regular basis and absolutely love it. However, there are those days when I want to throw weights at people and scream, “C’mon man! Really?” So I have compiled a list of people that annoy me and I hope you get a good laugh at this in that it is meant to be funny and somewhat serious. In no particular order…

  1. The Screamer. Now I know that the sports science show on ESPN said that screaming actually helps you lift more weight but in a little place called reality that should not apply to you. Unless your name is Jim Wendler and you are squatting 500lbs I don’t want to hear you scream. Matter of fact, it doesn’t make you look any cooler as you sound like a mother birthing a child. I would know…I have four kids.
  2. The Filmer. This one gets on my last nerve. As if looking at yourself is not enough you ask your little spot buddie to film you so you can put it on YouTube so everyone can look at your amazing form. First of all, odds are if you are asking someone to film you then you are not film worthy. The real guys who get filmed have hundreds of people around them and they are called Olympic athletes. Secondly, nobody (minus you and your mom) cares what you look like. It’s about getting stronger not looking like a Ken doll.
  3. Niagara Fallser. This is the guy that gets on the bench or other equipment and oozes sweat like the Niagara River is flowing out of every pore on their bodies. To make matters worse, they don’t wipe off after themselves and so when you want to do your sets after them you hesitate because who wants to bench press on a soggy bench that feels like a wet vanilla wafer?
  4. The Slapper. I never get this as I must have low testosterone. Some guys slap each other before they do their sets. You read that right…they slap each other. There are other individuals that do this…they are called gorillas and monkeys. Maybe evolution is reversing itself and the weight room is evidence for that reversal. When I see people slap each other I seriously want to run up to them and give them a banana.
  5. The One-Excerise-Wonder. You know this guy. He sits on one exercise machine and stays there for 40 minutes as if nothing else is available. He stacks that one machine with as much weights as possible, only does half the rep, slaps himself (#4), sweats (#3), films himself (#2) and then screams (#1). What a waste.
  6. The Deer-in-a-Headlighter. This is the guy that has no clue what he is doing so he drinks coffee, goes from machine to machine (usually the one you need) and does random sets and reps because he is clueless. Either do some research and man-up or leave and go to Krystals. Either way some of us need to get in, do our sets, then leave.

That’s it for now…hope you had a laugh!

Post-Sermon Cornering

April 16, 2012 — 6 Comments

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov. 12:18).

Every preacher has experienced this and what I am writing about this morning is not a new concept. After the sermon is over is a time when people like to tell you how much they appreciated the sermon (every preacher knows not to listen to this for he knows that it is about Jesus anyways) and sometimes how much they did not appreciate the sermon. Of course, we preachers tend to forget the compliments but only remember the criticism but I think that is part of human nature. I appreciate people who have questions though and want to talk more after a sermon about something that was said. Or maybe they did not hear something the way I intended and they need furthur clarification. Or maybe I said something and I was just wrong about it. Often I need to man-up and admit it. It was also written:

“If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you” (Prov. 1:23).

Yet, what bothers me more than anything is the nitpicking, holier-than-thou, questions that seem to be Pharasaical in nature rather than seeking truth. I could give you endless examples of times where I needed to be corrected or something needed to be said to me and I took it because it was God-sent. But the nit-picky stuff is unacceptable and my sarcasm shines in these moments.

“You know you said ‘ugh’ like 27 times in your sermon?” My response, “Sorry, I didn’t realize I was in a Toastmasters competition. I will work on that!”

“Robbie, you didn’t wear a tie this past Sunday and we are supposed to ‘wear our best’ when we worship on Sunday morning.” My response, “Next Sunday I will wear what Jesus wore and come in a full tunic, robe, sandals and belt. If it was good enough for Jesus then it is good enough for us.”

“Robbie, you didn’t say ‘in Jesus’ name’ before you said ‘Amen’ when you closed in prayer.” “You’re right…what you think Jesus said when he prayed to His father? In My name I pray, Amen!”

You see, the saracasm is not helpful either. But the minutia is what really bothers me not the genuine search for answers to tough questions. Perry Noble, Pastor of Newspring Church in South Carolina, said this in a sermon entitled “How to change the course of my life in an instant,”:

“There’s questions of clarification and there’s questions of condemnation. I, and this staff, always have time for questions of clarification. We will not engage in questions of condemnation.”

I can feel fine to disagree with people and at the end of the day worship with them but when people come to condemn the message I preached without being open to a different opinion then I will not engage in those questions. If they are open and we disagree then that is clarification but if they disagree and condemn me for my “liberal, unbiblical, uneducated, unsound, un__________ (you fill in the blank)” opinion then I do not have time for this.

Some people enjoy post-sermon arguing but I detest it and will not put up with it unless it is clarification. I enjoy those.

What about you? What do you think? How do you handle those?


Dear Valentine’s Day,

I hate you. Don’t get me wrong, I know it is a great time for me to recognize my wife and to purchase for her flowers, chocolates, and jewelry but quite frankly you are nothing more than a guilt trip and a marketing ploy. I mean really, do you think that the love I have for my mom, my wife and my daughters can be measured by the amount of gifts I purchase for them on one day? You don’t cater to the other 364 days I tell me wife and girls that I love them so why such a big push now? My wife and I decided years ago to give up on you because it’s nothing more than consumer-driven propaganda where companies invest millions to make billions on people who will purchase a cute teddy-bear only to be thrown away months (if not weeks) later.

The problem I have is not only the marketing ploy but also the guilt. Millions of women out there will not get to go to a fancy, romantic dinner from Mr. Right and they are going to feel like crap at the end of the day. I hate you for that Valentine’s Day. I also hate you because the men who do go out of their way to spend money on their significant other will in turn be made to feel like junk because their significant other will give them “the look” because “so-and-so” got a new car for Valentine’s Day and all they got was a lousy ring, flowers and a steak dinner. They will tell their man to “man-up” and go big next time or they will spend Valentine’s Day alone. Guilt trip.

Another issue I have with Valentine’s Day is that I have two beautiful daughters. I hate buying stuff on this day but I’ll be darned if someone braced-face, voice-cracking, pant-sagging teenager is going to outdo me on Valentine’s Day. I am starting early by giving them flowers and writing them notes letting them know how much I love them. I know, hypocritical BUT if they do celebrate Valentine’s Day the blasted dudes that take them out on a date will have to compete with me. Good luck with that.

I hate you Valentine’s Day because there is always “that guy” who goes above and beyond and makes all the women “oooh” and “ahhh” at his marvelous feet. You know who I am talking about. He’s the one who flies his significant other on a leer jet to a private island in the Carribbean. Upon arrival he has a 6 mile long path of rose pedals where a dinner awaits them cooked by Emeril and dessert cooked by Paula Deen. Not to be outdone, “that guy” paid for dinner entertainment by The Temptations, Barry White (don’t go there) and Keith Urban. Yeah, thanks Valentine’s Day for “that guy”.

Look, I am not against special moments of showing my love for my wife but I am against marketing ploys, guilt trips and shameless exploitation for us to “shower love” on our significant other. So it is my request that you end your selfish and relentless badgering on the man and let us love not on one day, but every day.

Signed,

Robbie Mackenzie


It has been a busy week for me and the nature of such may be reflected in this post as normally I would offer my posts of the week but I could not do such because a) I have been away most of the week, b) my laptop was stolen a week ago and c) I have a word to share today about something that has been on my heart.

Like many of you I follow a lot of blogs using Google Reader and a lot of times there are posts that will, by the nature of their title, lend itself to a colossal amount of comments. I was following a post on Matthew Paul Turner’s blog called, “MARK DRISCOLL’S ‘GOSPEL SHAME’: THE TRUTH ABOUT DISCIPLINE, EXCOMMUNICATION, AND CULT-LIKE CONTROL AT MARS HILL” which, at  this point, has 685 comments. People square-off within the confines of their laptop, cuddled-up with a cup of coffee and the expertise of Wikipedia, Google, and everything else at their fingertips. I get that. People can have a voice and comment accordingly and they feel as if they are heard. I am fine with that. What bothers me are two types of people:

  1. The I-really-don’t-have-a-life-so-I-will-comment-on-everything Guy. I mean really, do you have to respond to everyone and comment on everything? Will life cease to exist if you don’t comment on something?
  2. The I-am-right-and-feel-compelled-to-prove-everyone-wrong-because-somehow-my-study-is-unique-in-comparison-to-2,000+-years-of-scholarship Guy. This guy just can’t let it go. Furthermore he uses the passive-aggressive outlet of blogging and commenting to show how knowledgeable and well-read he or she really is. He has to let everyone know his position and cannot accept the idea that he may be wrong. My recommendation to you is that you turn off the computer, go outside and actually help people. That’s right…help people. Not many people care about the Greek tense of that verb, or that you can use amazing terms that nobody (outside of seminary) can understand.

Blogging is awesome for dialogue and pushing us toward deeper understanding. But people, go talk to your spouse or children or go out and volunteer at a shelter or something. Put the computer down bruh.

Lastly, I want to briefly discuss something that I have seen over the years since the advent of Facebook, Twitter, etc. I love watching people comment on a sermon, speech or something and watch it unfold in helpful discussion. Yet, when somebody disagrees with something it makes my body ache when they feel “compelled” to put things on Facebook how they disagreed with what so-and-so said. In Twitter I see the hash-tag #ChapelTweet and it bothers me to read people making fun of speakers, saying how horrible they are, how much they disagree with them and yet this is a version of slander (some of the comments are really positive though). A hash-tag is public and you do not need a twitter account to view it (http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23chapeltweet).

I just came from the Freed-Hardeman Lectures and noticed people were saying how much they disagreed with so-and-so about what he said. They would offer their passive-aggressive expertise on Facebook/Twitter and it just bothers me because then everyone who was not there sees your mini-rant. Why not contact the speaker, lecturer or teacher afterwards for some coffee or just to chat and have some dialogue about what you disagreed with in the speech? That seems to be a better solution than becoming a theological expert within the confines of your office, living room or whatever. Furthermore it promotes a positive way at handling disagreement. If I was wrong I want YOU to tell ME not EVERYBODY else. That’s what we teach our children to do right? If you have a problem with mom or dad tell us about it.

I am done ranting…it has been a while. Hope your weekend goes well.

 


I had lunch with a realtor the other day and I was curious about the real-estate business and he is a very successful realtor and knew I could learn something from him.  We talked a little about real estate and a lot about people.  He told me, “Robbie be careful when you run into a person who says, ‘Have a blessed day,’ or something like that.  99 times out of 100 they want something from you.”  I thought that was kind of silly but he insisted in that people like to bring in God and Christianity if it means making the sale.

I thought about this and the idea of God and Jesus sells.  I assume that the bible is still the number one selling book year after year and people make a lot of money coming up with various strategies at how to sell books.  Take a stroll through the Christian book store and it is easy to see how you can buy a little of God here and a little of God there.  You can buy $400 Thomas Kinkade paintings or buy a $10 bible cover, a $3 arm bracelet and lets not forget the ever-popular Testamints.  Sheesh.

I am not against Christian bookstores or Thomas Kinkade but I wonder if God is upset that he and his Son and the Holy Spirit are oft-used selling points for marketing gurus all over the country.

What do you think?

Adventures with Fanatics

November 6, 2011 — 2 Comments

Watching the BAMA-LSU game and then seeing the Twitter, Facebook and other various feeds I was taken back at how serious of fans where are when it comes to our sports.  Consider this guy who appeared on national television at what looks like he is crying over the loss…

In fairness, I do not know the guy and it may be that he is empathizing with a player he knows very well on the team.  If my son or daughter lost a huge game and was crying I probably would cry with him because feelings are strong and it is a real loss.  However, I can’t say I have ever cried over one of my teams losing.  Of course, as an Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Vols fan I am a bit acclimated to losing.  I will say I have become pretty upset like running out and screaming at the top of my lungs but I am more tame in my old age.  I wonder if it really matters how much emotion (dare I say tweetage) we put into sports.  I am somewhat embarrassed if Christ were to look at my tweets and see how much time I spent on things that really do not matter.  Why are we so fanatic over sports?  I went to a high-school football game and there was this guy (there always is) who screamed the entire game trying to pump-up the crowd, trying to yell at the referees and trying to tell the offensive lineman the way he should block.  I went to a college football game and there was this guy who was beyond the state of inebriation and he was hackling fans, cussing at refs and getting upset.

So why do we get so worked up over something that does not matter much in kingdom?  Maybe it is systemic of a larger narrative in life which says we get worked-up over a lot of things that have no bearing when it comes to kingdom.  I think we can be passionate about teams and it is ok but becoming so worked up about it that it consumes you might not be worth it. Maybe I am just a jaded person who can say this because his teams stink but stinking all the time gives you perspective on what is most important.

NOTE:  The video was not to pick on BAMA but simply to highlight what is true with every team out there.