Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 1/5/2006 8:52:09 AM EDT
Y'all have been nice enough to help me out in the other thread. If I could ask for a bit more of your time, I'd appreciate it.

In my other thread, the response to ads for churches has been overwhelmingly negative. That and the reasons given make sense.

I write a column for the local paper. Here is an example of my writing. Please, give me your honest opinion. If it makes you think I'm a pretentious, self-righteous schmuck, then tell me so. I'm trying to improve my writing and my ministry. The people at church like it, but to be honest that kind of scares me because they are not my primary audience.

Here's the article


Is a Plasma-Screen TV a necessity??


To quickly provide financial aid to those uprooted by hurricane Katrina, FEMA issued debit cards worth $2000.00 to victims. Some have used these emergency debit cards to purchase luxury items (including an $800 purse and a plasma-screen television) and finance trips to strip clubs according to reports in the Daily News and the Washington Times. Local and federal agencies are investigating these abuses.
I am shocked that anyone would spend $800 on a purse. That someone would use emergency federal funds to purchase purses, TV’s or a stripper’s favors is completely incomprehensible to me. But the more I think about it, the less surprised I am. Squandering what is given to us is the American way.
God has blessed all of us with numerous blessings. We live in one of the most prosperous civilizations in history. We enjoy the benefits of the most advanced medical arts. Food is abundant and relatively inexpensive. Our forefathers died to provide us with freedoms unheard of in other civilizations. In addition to these blessings, God has blessed us each with individual talents and opportunities. Is He happy with how we use them? The average American home has nearly as many Bibles as televisions. We own more of God’s Word and follow less of His Will than at any time in history.
Jesus taught, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48 NIV).” What are you doing with what God has given you?

Link Posted: 1/5/2006 10:15:15 AM EDT
Jesus: A camel has a better chance at getting through the eye of a needle than a rich man into heaven.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 10:47:13 AM EDT
Do you write for a religious paper? If not it might not fit very well.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 10:47:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 11:15:36 AM EDT
Being a person who has busted his butt to get to where he is at and is continuing to bust his butt to get further ahead in life, I tend to think that no one gave me anything including God. But then again I don't believe in God. Personaly what you have written sounds just like every other religous based article I have ever read.

If you don't mind I would like to ask you a question that has bugged me to no end about modern day American Christians. I am asking you since you seem to be willing to talk in a reasonable tone about your faith and I think you are honestly trying to avoid hasseling people with your outreach program. Do you feel that these giant churches that are being built right now are proper? Seems to me that the more Christian thing to do with the money it takes to buy the land and build the buildings and pay for their up keep would be to help those less fotunate than others in that area. Help the sick in the congregation and the surround areas. That seems more Christian to me. I would think Jesus would want people doing that rather than building giant churches in his name. What do you think? Sorry to deviate from your topic but like I said you seem to realy want to talk about things in a nice manner.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 11:37:34 AM EDT
Scagnettie,

I'll start a new thread on your topic and include my opinion.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 12:09:21 PM EDT
TJ,

Thanks that's exactly the kind of help I was looking for.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 7:56:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wdsman:
Y'all have been nice enough to help me out in the other thread. If I could ask for a bit more of your time, I'd appreciate it.

In my other thread, the response to ads for churches has been overwhelmingly negative. That and the reasons given make sense.

I write a column for the local paper. Here is an example of my writing. Please, give me your honest opinion. If it makes you think I'm a pretentious, self-righteous schmuck, then tell me so. I'm trying to improve my writing and my ministry. The people at church like it, but to be honest that kind of scares me because they are not my primary audience.

Here's the article


Is a Plasma-Screen TV a necessity??


To quickly provide financial aid to those uprooted by hurricane Katrina, FEMA issued debit cards worth $2000.00 to victims. Some have used these emergency debit cards to purchase luxury items (including an $800 purse and a I agree with specifying the price here plasma-screen television) and finance trips to strip clubs according to reports in the Daily News and the Washington Times. Local and federal agencies are investigating these abuses.
I am shocked that anyone would spend $800 on a purse. Might want to remove this one, it goes against your comment about how people spend their money in the large church thread. That someone would use emergency federal funds to purchase purses, TV’s or a stripper’s favors is completely incomprehensible to me. But the more I think about it, the less surprised I am. Squandering what is given to us is the American way. This is your main point and I think it is a very good one. Maybe elaborate a little more in this paragraph.
God has blessed all of us with numerous blessings. We live in one of the most prosperous civilizations in history. We enjoy the benefits of the most advanced medical arts sciences. Food is abundant and relatively inexpensive. Our forefathers died to provide us with freedoms unheard of in other civilizations. In addition to these blessings, God has blessed us each with individual talents and opportunities. Is He happy with how we use them? I like how you follow up your main point with this. The average American home has nearly as many Bibles as televisions. We own more of God’s Word and follow less of His Will than at any time in history. You could argue for and against this statement, but it fits your point as it is.
Jesus taught, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48 NIV).” What are you doing with what God has given you? Nice ending.




I've included some of my edits in red. Take them as constructive in nature.
Link Posted: 1/6/2006 6:31:14 AM EDT
I really wish I'd had your comments before I posted that last column. I think it would have been better with your suggestions. That said, here is the column I will be sending in for next week. Please feel free to comment, edit etc.


At Least They Are Consistent

Jehovah’s Witnesses have often drawn fire for their belief that receiving blood transfusions is wrong. So it comes as no surprise that they typically do not donate blood either. While we can disagree with their beliefs, at least they are consistent.
The rest of us who have no moral objections to receiving blood transfusions are staggeringly inconsistent. The vast majority of us are more than willing to accept a blood transfusion if we need it. The vast majority of us are more than willing for our loved ones to receive a blood transfusion if they need one. Yet, the vast majority of us, 95% according to the Red Cross, do not donate blood. This bothers me.
This bothers me because I believe it is wrong to benefit from a service and not do anything to support that service. I know those that receive blood transfusions usually have to pay for those transfusions. That covers the cost of processing and transport. The blood itself is freely given by neighbors.
This bothers me because I believe one of the main reasons people do not donate is fear. We should never allow fear to keep us from doing what we believe is right. It has been said that courage is not a virtue, but all virtues at the testing point. How firmly do we hold any of our beliefs, if the fear of the prick of a needle can keep us from acting on one of them?
This bothers me because I believe “greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friend.” We rightly honor our military, police and fire-fighters for risking their lives for us. This paper rightly honored one of our area ministers for donating a kidney. From this, one might conclude that we value sacrifice. However, when we fail to back up our words with our actions, when we are unwilling to sacrifice a single hour and a pint of blood; then our true values are revealed.


Link Posted: 1/6/2006 6:34:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wdsman:
Y'all have been nice enough to help me out in the other thread. If I could ask for a bit more of your time, I'd appreciate it.

In my other thread, the response to ads for churches has been overwhelmingly negative. That and the reasons given make sense.

I write a column for the local paper. Here is an example of my writing. Please, give me your honest opinion. If it makes you think I'm a pretentious, self-righteous schmuck, then tell me so. I'm trying to improve my writing and my ministry. The people at church like it, but to be honest that kind of scares me because they are not my primary audience.

Here's the article


Is a Plasma-Screen TV a necessity??


To quickly provide financial aid to those uprooted by hurricane Katrina, FEMA issued debit cards worth $2000.00 to victims. Some have used these emergency debit cards to purchase luxury items (including an $800 purse and a plasma-screen television) and finance trips to strip clubs according to reports in the Daily News and the Washington Times. Local and federal agencies are investigating these abuses.
I am shocked that anyone would spend $800 on a purse. That someone would use emergency federal funds to purchase purses, TV’s or a stripper’s favors is completely incomprehensible to me. But the more I think about it, the less surprised I am. Squandering what is given to us is the American liberal, lazy welfare collectors way.
God has blessed all of us with numerous blessings. We live in one of the most prosperous civilizations in history. We enjoy the benefits of the most advanced medical arts. Food is abundant and relatively inexpensive. Our forefathers died to provide us with freedoms unheard of in other civilizations. In addition to these blessings, God has blessed us each with individual talents and opportunities. Is He happy with how we use them? The average American home has nearly as many Bibles as televisions. We own more of God’s Word and follow less of His Will than at any time in history.
Jesus taught, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48 NIV).” What are you doing with what God has given you?


Sounded great, except that one thing I changed for ya
Link Posted: 1/6/2006 6:49:32 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/6/2006 7:30:29 AM EDT
TJ,

Thanks again for your comments.

Here's how I see these articles. Each article has an immediate purpose. In this one that is to increase attendance at the next blood drive. The series as a whole has another purpose. Through the way I write and the subjects I cover I want the people in my community to understand that there is a church which:

1. cares about the community
2. will try to honestly answer questions without beating them up
3. will accept them as they are
4. doesn't require them to shut off their brain at the door
5. is not out for their money

and hopefully

6. where the preacher won't bore you to tears.

Two other preachers in our town write columns for the paper. One is published every week, the other only occassionaly. We're in the buckle of the Bible belt and they actually include articles from preachers from other cities. These are generally long-winded, judgmental, political and poorly written. Even when I agree with the basic point of these articles, I want to distance myself from their attitude. I want people to understand there is an alternative.

Link Posted: 1/6/2006 7:36:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/6/2006 7:38:19 AM EDT by TomJefferson]
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 8:30:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/8/2006 8:34:00 PM EDT by Big_Louie]

Originally Posted By Wdsman:

You hit every main argument. This article is much more direct than the last one. It questions some of the character attributes considered most important by American Christians and will certainly rile some of the readers up. You've done well treading carefully so that they'll think instead of knee-jerk, though.

At Least They Are Consistent

Jehovah’s Witnesses have often drawn fire for their belief that receiving blood transfusions is wrong. So it comes should come as no surprise that they typically do not donate blood either. While we can disagree with their beliefs, at least they are consistent.

The rest In contrast, many of us who have no moral objections to receiving blood transfusions are staggeringly inconsistent. The vast majority of us are more than willing to accept a blood transfusion if we need it. The vast majority of us are more than willing for our loved ones to receive a blood transfusion if they need one. Yet, the vast majority of us, 95% according to the Red Cross, do not donate blood. This bothers me. I like the repetition in the next few paragraphs, but maybe alter the repeated phrase to "This is disturbing." or something similar to soften the criticism in the article and deflect it from it's source.

This bothers me because I believe it is wrong to benefit from a service and not do anything to support that service. I know those that receive blood transfusions usually have to pay for those transfusions. That covers the cost of processing and transport. However, the blood itself is freely given by neighbors.

This bothers me because I believe one of the main reasons people do not donate is fear. We should never allow fear to keep us from doing what we believe is right. It has been said that courage is not a virtue, but all virtues at the testing point. How firmly do we hold any of our beliefs, if the fear of the prick of a needle can keep us from acting on one of them? Nice paragraph.

This bothers me because I believe "greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friend." We rightly honor our military, police and fire-fighters for risking their lives for us. This paper rightly honored one of our area ministers for donating a kidney. From this, one might conclude that we value sacrifice. However, when we fail to back up our words with our actions, when we are unwilling to sacrifice a single hour and a pint of blood;, then our true values are revealed.

You could add a line in the above paragraph about how it costs no money to donate blood to drive home the point. There are also a plethora of biblical quotes that would be appropriate here. One more probably wouldn't hurt. They can argue with you, but what can they say against Jesus? It might be a good way to wrap things up.




Some more constructive criticism. It's mostly just stylistic.
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 11:22:37 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 5:35:30 AM EDT
BL,

Thank-you for your comments! I'm going to incorporate some of them into the column and send it out today.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 5:39:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 1GUNRUNNER:
What's the point of taking the jab at the JW's in the start? Couldn't you make your point without it?



Wasn't really meant as a jab.

The vast majority of the people in our town probably look down on JW's for their stance on blood transfusion. I'm simply pointing out that while we may disagree with them, they are consistent and the vast majority of us are not. They have a valid moral objection to participating in the process and they don't. That makes sense. We believe in and benefit from blood transfusions, but we don't participate. That doesn't make sense.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 5:53:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 5:54:02 AM EDT by DDiggler]

Originally Posted By MauserMark:
Jesus: A camel has a better chance at getting through the eye of a needle than a rich man into heaven.



A lot of people think that this means it's almost impossible for a rich man to enter heaven, but that's not true.

Eye of a Needle


Now Jesus wasn't referring to a sewing needle when he talked about a camel going through the eye of a needle. The "eye of a needle" was referring to a small gate within the larger gate at the entrance to a city. It was common to build an ordinary door in the huge gate so that common folks could go and come in the city without leaving the large gate wide open all the time. But here's the catch: For a camel to get in, he would have to take off the burden of all he was carrying on his back, and kneel down and crawl through the door. So Jesus was comparing the rich young rulers many possessions as a burden to him. He was giving his treasure more importance than service to God. He had made an idol out of his money. For that reason, he went away very troubled at what Jesus told him. He was unwilling to change his ways and kneel to God.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 7:07:27 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:07:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 1GUNRUNNER:

Originally Posted By Wdsman:
The vast majority of the people in our town probably look down on JW's for their stance on blood transfusion.



I would say that the vast majority of the people in my town probably have no idea of JW's stance on blood transfusions, I being one of them.

Perhaps the religious people do though.



I live in a small town (less than 2,000) smack dab in middle of the buckle of the Bible Belt. Nearly everyone in town at least claims to be a Christian. The Mormons are out visiting every day and the JW's every nice day. Our Religious Quotient is pretty high around here and most of my neighbors here are familiar with the JW beliefs.

That said, I probably should have said "majority" instead of "vast majority."
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 7:39:27 AM EDT
In general, mainstream Christians don't have much use for JWs.

I didn't read that as a jab at the JWs so much as a comparison. A comparison that Christians get the losing end of. And that will certainly get their attention, at the least. You might catch a little flak for that one.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:19:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MauserMark:
Jesus: A camel has a better chance at getting through the eye of a needle than a rich man into heaven.



You know there is some discussion that He was referring to an entrance into Jerusalem called "the needles eye" because it was a doorway 6 feet tall or so, so camels had to get down on their knees and get through that way. Learned that in Jerusalem. Not to disagree, but an interesting perspective.
Top Top