Sunday, December 23, 2007

Strange Dream

I dreamed I was back in home in Seattle (which I happen to visiting right now), and random, small clouds, were swooshing in. I could see their shadows follow along the ground. They would dump rain, in an otherwise clear day.

Then somehow, we "caught" one of these clouds in our bathroom, and found out it was made up of curly hair held together by, I believe, paper clips. So we thought someone was artificially creating these clouds.

there was more, but that's about the most interesting part.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Only a Jack Ass like me would actually do this

This is a review I write on Thai Smile located in Anaheim, CA. . .

This place is not a very clean place, but probably falls under the category of "hole in the wall." There about 6 booths total for seating in the place. Typically, these "hole in the wall" places survive by having very good food at cheap price. Service isn't necessarily the reason why you would go to these places, but I'll describe it to you anyway.

PRICE

The price was $5.95 for the Phad Thai and Massa Mun Curry, and we paid $4.95 for the fresh spring rolls. So I can't complain about the price.

FOOD QUALITY

The portion size is smaller than most Thai places I've been to. The Phad Thai tasted like it had Soy Sauce in it and the Massa Mun curry was bland, thin, and didn't even have half a carrot in it, and maybe one whole potato. Also very little chicken. My wife and I also had the fresh spring rolls which had shrimp that weren't deveined. I'm not to say whether shrimp needs to be deveined or not, but after having the rest of their food, I couldn't really eat the spring rolls with much pleasure.

I wouldn't go here based solely on food quality and quantity as Thai Cuisine Express is superior in flavor and quantity and only costs maybe $.50 more than here.

SERVICE

Now typically I don't expect high class service at these kinds of joints, but it was so bad that I have to mention our story. My wife and I entered the facility for dinner and sat on our own because no one was waiting tables and no employee was in sight. I wanted to make sure they knew we were there so we could get the menus so I walked up toward the cashier desk and let them know I was there.

A gentleman came out and sat us down with menus. He came back within an acceptable amount of time and took our order. No complaints so far though it's a little off shooting to feel like you need to let the cooks know you entered their building.

The Phad Thai came out first. My wife and I ate it, and when we finished the dish the Massa Mun curry arrived. No rice was included so I asked for rice. The rice came out in two, rice bowl sized balls. After about another 5 minutes the Spring Rolls came out. During this whole time we were waiting for the food, I could hear yelling in the back of the kitchen. I'm thinking this is due to the chaos back there as it was a little strange that our Spring Rolls came out after the main dish? Maybe this is a Thai custom? Actually I'm not 100% if the family that owns it is Thai or not.

So far, the food isn't that good, and the quantity was low, and the service is iffy.

I'm ready to get out of there as soon as possible so I walk up to the cashier, and there's no staff in the main serving area, so I wait there as some other people in the restaurant yell inside the kitchen to let them know I'm there. I think the waitress who came to process my order was new or something, because it took her about 5 minutes to attempt to ring my order, but then give up and give it to what I believe was the owner of the place.

She's calculating the price, and because their cashier isn't working, and they're typing the final bill on a calculator, I want to double check their math with my Pocket PC. So I ask politely what percentage the tax is. I ask again what the tax is, but she doesn’t understand me, and so I ask again. I then get a loud voice behind me from one of the booths (which I later find out is her niece), that tells me it’s 7.75%.

Then the grand finale comes. There's a sign that says that they will charge $.50 on all credit card fees. I want to make sure I don’t get charged this, so I tell her that it’s against the merchant agreement with Visa & Mastercard to charge me a “processing fee” and that the state of California doesn’t allow that kind of charge (Ref: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=civ&group=01001-02000&file=1747-1748.7) The cashier doesn’t understand me, and her niece interrupts and tells me that I’m wrong. She justifies the charge by saying that the sign clearly states it and that it’s a common practice of many other restaurants in the area. I then tell her, that I don’t care what common practice is, and that the charge is illegitimate and I refuse to pay it. The niece’s male companion then yells out, “Man, it’s only $.50!”. And the niece offers to cover the $.50 on my behalf.

I pay, and leave, and will never be going back again.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Review for Managing Your Finances (Purpose Driven) by Crowne Financial

Just so you get my bias: I follow under the banner of being reformed in theology but progressive in methodology. So in the camp of Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller. I'm in agreement with Gospel Centered preaching rather than Christ Centered preaching (the difference between grace & moralism).

I'm going through this program right now, and I must say I feel like shooting myself, or screaming very loud.

SUMMARY
This program is about 6 modules and goes through different sections on how to view money God's way. It's intended to be done in small groups. There's a lot of basic, practical advice, and like the "Purpose Driven" model, is peppered with one-liner Bible verses to support point by point structured lessons that are taught via a 15-20 minute DVD segment. So for example, they might have 3 points as to how you should save money, and have one-liner Bible verses supporting each point.

In each module, they have you take home and do "homework," which typically means that you need to meticulously keep track of every expenditure, categorize it, make a budget, do an asset inventory, debt-repayment plan, etc.

STRENGTHS
- It's a very good overview of how God views money and how Christians should view money.
- It brings the question of finances into the churches view in a very accessible way!
- Very good practicality (they provide Excel worksheets that'll do a lot of the "budgeting" for you)

WEAKNESSES
- Too simplistic. Nothing in this packet isn't something that you can easily find by googling in five minutes. I'm talking about the financial advice they give. The theological issues are items that someone somewhat knowledgeable about scripture can pull on their own (ie. All your money actually belongs to God!) This material could easily (and more effectively) be prepared in-house (well, I guess if I could've taught it myself, it can't be THAT hard? But that's an assumption based on the fact that all my "knowledge" has been gleaned from free material off the web, both practical financial advice and theological worldviews toward money)


- Teaches bad Bible study techniques. This program is littered with one-sentence or even partial sentence Bible verses. There's a "matter of fact" simplicity they use these Bible verses to support various points they make. For one thing, these verses are taken out of context and are often applied in a different manner than what the original author intended. There's no explanation of the context of the passages and how they were able to apply the verse to the situation. It's just a "here's the Bible Verse," and here's my point. The end. No further explanation. . . WHAT? Are you kidding me?

If you want to take a verse and apply it differently than what the original author's intent was, I think there should be at least some effort to at least mention that and explain the process in which you get to the "application."

They'll sometimes list about five verses, and one verse will be from Proverbs (very practical and explicitly referencing money) and another verse from Romans (that's more about "spiritual matters" and somewhat unrelated to money unless you make a bunch of connections). Of course, I may know that they're pulling "application" and some of the verses are out of context, and I may have better Bible Study skills and acumen, but what does their whole Bible study methodology teach?

Basically, the end truths they may get to are sound enough, but the means they get to it is very sloppy and simplistic. The ends do not justify the means, and by teaching a bad means towards a final interpretation of scripture, I feel does more harm than good.

I think it would be much better for them to just take one verse or passage, and dive deeper into how they pull out the applications. Less quantity, and more quality in their Bible support would practically serve better. This way you can teach solid Biblical scholarship, while teaching about money at the same time. Rather than teach horrible Bible scholarship but teach about money. At least if you teach good Bible scholarship, the individual will be better equipped to investigate further questions they have on their own.

I think in their quest to make the program more accessible to a wider audience, they looked sort of short sighted trying to spoon feed the points to the audiences, rather than looking longer term, to teach people how to study. More of the concept of teaching a man to fish rather than just giving them fish all the time. But in this case, by giving the fish so easily, this program essentially teaches a very BAD way to fish, and will actually hurt people should they try and do a Bible study with the same methodology.

So if I were to do this program, I would have to caveat the sloppy scholarship the program does, despite its truthful points. And then at the end, I would have to run another class to show how the whole program used the various verses to connect their "applications." But then at that point, I would point out that some of their application of verses was way off and show how. And so on and so on, undoing the harm the program did. I might as well not do it and develop one or two quality lessons with some practical financial management tools.


- Doesn't deal with the heart issues. Okay. . . is it because people just don't KNOW that money is really God's that they're not being generous about it? Is it because people just don't KNOW that they shouldn't be in debt because it puts them in bondage that they shouldn't go into unnecessary debt? Is it because people just don't KNOW that spending more than you make is being a dumb ass so that's why they do it? The SNL skit shows this fairly clearly at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xt0c6_snldontbuystuff_fun

My point is that people know in their heads they should be more generous, or OUGHT to do things. People recognize their own sin and selfishness. But rather than seeing money as an issue of having idols, they see money as a MORALISTIC obligation (ie. I ought to give more money, I should save more, I shouldn't be in debt, etc.) . . .

The question more to be asked is why do we buy more than we earn or are not more generous? Why go into debt based on an instant gratification and hedonistic compulsion? And of course this question will be answered in different ways. But the bottom line is that the ultimate person who should be our greatest satisfaction (John Piper theology inserted here), Jesus Christ, is not our ultimate pleasure. Instead, we feel that some material possession or "functional savior" (Tim Keller theology inserted here), rather than our true savior, Jesus Christ, will save us.

Everyone has their own personal "hell" that they don't want to experience here on Earth, so they try to find some kind of "functional savior" to bring them out of their hell, rather than Jesus Christ. So hell for one person can be where their peers aren't respecting him/her, so that person may go into debt to maintain the image of being important. In that case, the money becomes the functional savior to the individual to buy those things that make him/her look important. What the individual should be doing is looking at their personal hell and asking Jesus to save them from their fear of no one respecting them. So in essence, allowing Jesus to weed out the root issue in the individual's heart.

Okay, so all that to say that the series I'm going through only shows the moralistic and practical methods of temporarily fixing the problem without actually digging deep to root out the true causes for the self-destructive behaviors people have with money and debt.

People may change their habits with money for about a month in response to the study, but long lasting change will only occur once the individuals have been fully redeemed and released from the "functional saviors" they rely on day-in-day-out by the true savior.


In the end. . . a lot of my observations/critiques can be applicable to just about most church programs/sermons, and I'm probably just more annoyed with the state of American churches as a whole.

3 Month Observations of Orange County

I’ve been in Orange County, California, for about three months now, and here are some things that I notice are the difference in comparison to Seattle:

1) There seems to be a much more shattered/shallow sense of community. Maybe it’s the crazy commutes everyone has or the whole thing about how everyone moves to OC to live the OC life. Suburbia with minimal contact of your neighbor.

2) People don’t play computer/video games down here socially. Like up in Seattle, it was okay to be a nerd. Bill Gates is a nerd. Microsoft is a big nerd. And Seattle has a lot of nerds. If you’re a nerd and like nerdy things, that’s actually considered to be somewhat hip. In the OC. . . well, not so much. I think of more of “Bill & Ted” being more acceptable than a “nerd.” I think people are more concerned about maintaining the OC “image.”

To further contrast point 2, when I was in the Air Force, nearly EVERYONE was a nerd at heart. It was more accepted to play video games because when people went downrange, that was all they would end up doing on their off time because there was nothing else to do. I guess in the OC, there’s so much sun, no one really wants to stay indoors so there never was much affinity toward playing video games. People in the OC play outside!!! Crazy, I know.

So what does that look like in reality? When Halo 3 came out and I asked a bunch of people down here if they knew anyone who had a party with their friends over to play together . . . no one knew anyone. . . I was alone. . . and sad there was no one to play with.

But anyway, that’s about all I have to say about that. The more recent entry was really what cooked me to write a blog.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Know any dependable web developers?

www.comfortinnmaingate.com is the site that needs to be maintained/overhauled.

Know anyone dependable that's willing to do it? (for pay of course)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In Los Angeles! Goobye Air Force!

It is now two days and a half since we flew in from Germany (my wife and I) to begin our new life here in Los Angeles (Buena Park, Orange County). Today I officially have signed out at the Los Angeles AFB to let them know I arrived safely and began to take my final vacation days until I'm technically out of the Air Force.

There's much more I'd like to write about, but I'll do that in the future once the craziness settles down. I'm still dealing with some jet lag, and have gone on Internet researching/purchasing splurges building my dream Home Theatre system I've been neglecting while being stationed in Germany. . . I'll tell you how I got $600 off a Samsung 4665F LCD TV ;-) from Best Buy.

Monday, July 9, 2007

My Past Two Years and the Spiritual Darkness of the Military Base

CORRECTION: I didn't have a car for only two months rather than years.

It’ll be two years since I joined the Air Force in July 29th. What’s the overall assessment? Suffering. . . but good (but no I would not do it all over again if I knew better. . .) Here’s a rundown of what I’ve experienced in the past two years according to category (you can get a more detailed description of the specific experiences by going through the history of the items that have an * next to them ):

Financial

1) Invested in my first Roth IRA

2) Moved into my first apartment in Germany *

3) Became financially independent from my parents for the first time

4) Bought my first, brand new car *

Church Community

1) Quit two ministries after active involvement due to differences in vision with leadership *

2) Got fired from one ministry due to my views of one of the ministries I quit above *

3) Listened to every single Acts29Network and The Resurgence podcast/vodcast along with most of Mark Driscoll’s sermons along with much of Erwin McManus’ *

Personal

1) Proposed on the Eiffel tower *

2) Got married in glorious Spokane, WA *

3) Traveled enough to know I don’t like it and got my first pick pocket experience

4) Had no car for two years and biked everywhere *

5) Learned a improved keyboard layout – Dvorak!!! *

6) JeffersonKim.com helps a long lost cousin reestablish contact *

Military

1) 9 months of working weird, 12 hour shifts, sometimes entire weekends (72 hours) all by myself without interacting with a single person

2) Volunteered to quit two years earlier than my four year commitment

3) Sheltered during Hurricane Katrina for 7 days *

4) Got my website censored from the networks

So we all learn the best through conflict and suffering. It’s fairly clear from my past posts that I learned quite a bit through the Church community and the military work environment. Now the question becomes on solutions. After much deliberation, I’ve concluded that there is no hope for the church community here. If I were to describe hell, I would probably describe this area.

As for military. . . there is hope, but that’s an arena that I don’t want to claim even enough experience or insight to be so bold as to publicize a possible solution. Basically, I have my opinions, but there are much smarter people in much more authoritative positions to be able to fix the problem. And I would say now that they’re actually laying off Air Force personnel, they are at least making the attempt to fix the problem, which is more than I can say about myself.

So going back to the church community around here. . . there’s no hope. And here’s why.

First, to discern what a healthy Christian community will look like it should have multiple aspects, and here are some.

1) Teach from the Bible exegetically, which means that they’re trying to understand the original intention of the authors and extrapolate to our context

2) Teach the Bible as though it’s a book essentially about Christ and not as a book on how man should live his life

3) A community that loves one another

4) A community that loves the local military community with the hope that they will come to know Christ

5) Reach their community as though they were missionaries in a foreign country

All items above need to be spearheaded by strong leadership. So until there is strong leadership, there can be no hope. Had I known there wasn’t strong leadership out here, I might’ve tried starting my own ministry out here. . . but seriously, would I do it knowing I would only be out here for two years? Probably not. . . so that relates to some factors that bring together hopelessness to have strong leadership:

1) People tend to live here and move within a three year period because the Air Force moves them. We’re talking an entire leadership, and congregational turnover within three years!!! That’s CRAZY enough to destroy a ministry and make any leader want to quit, but add more. . .

2) Military personnel have to deploy for 4 months or more and travel back to the states for weeks at a time. So not only can the people only stay for about three years, but then they deploy for months at a time! Not only that, but when holidays come around, they will most likely return back to the States for vacation or travel.

3) The American community is isolated with about 60,000 people. We’re talking a small town completely isolated from the rest of the world! No large city nearby (not even a German city) that people commute from. . . this is it! In other words, if you’re a talented leader, you’ll probably focus your energies on a large city stateside, rather than some small military community. For you Seattlites. . . imagine Everett completely isolated and see what strong church communities come from that. . .

4) Travelling. . . We’re here in Germany. . . what do you think most people are going to try and do on the weekends? That’s right. Travel! We’re only a four-hour drive from Paris!

It comes down to this. You need time to create meaningful community and strong leadership. Military personnel in the military predominantly cannot or choose not to commit to a meaningful community due to their unique position and transient lifestyle. Strong leaders will come to recognize that they can simply impact much more people by going stateside where they can disciple people for a longer period of time.

That’s just one of the prices military personnel face. Transient living.

The lack of Christ centered, biblical, and missionally focused community has been hell for me. Like, if I were to be in hell, he could just stick me here. Well. . . I guess if I knew I was here for three more years, I’d make something of it, but by the time I got kicked out/quit all the ministries and discovered that the leadership out here didn’t hold the same ecclesiology as me, it was too late to create something substantial of my own.

Well, hopefully the suffering I went through will teach me to be a lot more careful and discerning in the future before committing to a ministry or church community.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Information Bonanza

For the past two years or so I've been d/l podcasts and vodcasts. I have so many that I can no longer keep up to listening to all the material! They have podcasts on just about every topic I need: Business, Indie music, Leadership, Tech, Gaming, Sermons, Foreign languages, This American Life, etc. I'm like a kid in a candy store!

I can say that the sermons, more specifically from TheResurgence, Acts29Network, have really gotten me in trouble with the established religious authorities, more specifically with the concept of missiology and reformed, biblically centered theology. This is how I got introduced to Tim Keller and Ed Stetzer, and other visionaries like Erwin McManus.

Then on top of this, most recently I've gotten into Google Reader's RSS aggregate reader. This will be information overload, but I love it! Now I don't have to go through like 50 different sites to get the news I look for. I put it all on one site. So now I don't have to keep clicking through Xanga.com subscriptions or slickdeals.net, or news.bbc.co.uk, or Tomshardware.com etc to got all the tidbits of knowledge I'm looking for. I can just go to one area and sort through more information in a timely fashion.

We're in the information age where it's more important than ever to be able to sort through the most important imformation and weild it for greatest effect. Knowledge is power. The power to wield influence and transform the world. I have no excuse anymore to claim ignorance.

. . . and I'm not even going to go into the world of BitTorrent in this entry. . . ;)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

New Keyboard Layout!

Now many of you are using the standard QWERTY keyboard method. I'd like to introduce you to the Dvorak style of keyboard.

After noticing my hand was getting some pains from typing, I remembered dabbling into the new keyboard layout. There's a whole history behind the Dvorak keyboard layout, but what I can say is that it's a much more efficient use of your finger movements. If you think you are typing fast now, just wait until you try out the other format.

Just google the word and you'll be able to see all kinds of entries about it.

Though I don't think I have fully reached the same speeds as I had with the QWERTY format, I can tell it feels like I'm hardly moving my fingers! It's freaking sweet and I wish I started learning to type in this format instead of the QWERTY.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Military Culture & The Jefferson: You Can Already Tell This Won�t Turn Out Good

Everyone knows that the military isn't for everyone. If it was, then everyone would be in it. What do you do, though, when you're in the military, not of free choice, and you're not allowed to get out? Thus my predicament.

If I could get out right now, I would. But due to bureaucracy, and the massive size of the military, I am told to sit tight for about five more months until about July 28th. There's a back story to that, but that's too long to go into here.

So thus an interesting predicament occurs which I will hopefully never face again for the rest of my life: I dislike the military culture and the military culture dislikes me. But neither one of us can get rid of each other immediately! I will separate this part into two main components of recent reflections on military culture both the officer corps and within the chapel system.

The Officer Corps

I don't need to go into specifics, but the basic jist is this. I am a bad officer and I don't care that I'm a bad officer. That bothers some people who have had to work so hard to become an officer. That creates some dissonance.

The Air Force Officer corps uphold ideals of perfection that are displayed on the outside. Because I do not have inner conviction of being and officer, the only way I can fully fulfill the arbitrary duties of an officer is to "fake it." "Faking it" is possibly the hardest thing for me to do because it goes against my philosophy of being a brutally honest and authentic person in every facet of life.

For example, I don't show up to work at 0730 every morning, but instead show up some minutes later. I still get all my work done and done effectively, but because I don't "check off" that box, it's looked down upon. Am I going to show up on time because of that? Probably not because I still get the work done.

Another example is that I refuse to go to pointless meetings and events. I refuse to waste my time "kissing butt." That's my main officer duty is to "kiss butt" and because I don't care about kissing butt, I don't do it. That causes friction with those who feel I am not fulfilling my duties of an officer.

Okay, that's enough about that. But the basic essence is that I am a square peg in a round hole corporate environment. I just have to endure through it until my day of separation arrives and accept within my heart that, "Yes, I am a bad officer." Any alternatives without dying to my personal convictions?

The Chapel System

After being participatory and recently excommunicated by the Chapel system, I have become a very large proponent of separation between church and state. If you ever wonder why Socialism would never work, I recommend you check out the military as a case study.

In any case, in the previous blog entry you can see my castigating email of the leadership of both the chapels and most churches in the area and United States.

Of course, the chaplains didn't appreciate me undercutting their religious authority and especially didn't appreciate the fact that I was teaching this to high school students.

I guess truth is okay to teach as long as it doesn't affect the established religious authority.

I'm being sarcastic, but I've come to some realization lately that under normal circumstances, I would never had volunteered to the Chapel in the first place for numerous reasons. However, due to the fact that I was new overseas and that basically every other Church around here was just as bad, I chose the service to volunteer in that was most strategically placed geographically to reach the lost.

What I failed to realize though, was that the deadness of the Chapel wasn't primarily due to a lack of adequate volunteers of the Chapel, but was a direct result of purposeful intention by the Chapel leadership to not be "missionally" minded.

I would call the leadership heretics and horrible teachers and considering that the primary reason for Christians' existence is to be the "light unto the world" and to go into the world as Christ entered our world, Christ would agree.

Thus, the whole ordeal was mainly due to my foolishness. No one would ever think that seriously dating an immature Christian would somehow end in a good way, in the same way, I "dated" the immature (and intentionally heretical) church and ended up being broken hearted. FOOL! Yes, I am a fool. And the lesson to be learned is to be smarter about who I spend my time with.

Like Christ, I should had spent my time aimed at the marginalized and outcast, rather than to the self-righteous, Pharisiee-like church attenders.

Lesson learned. And now I have to figure out how to communicate the Gospel most effectively through my life for the short time I'm here without being a part of a local congregation of believers.

Monday, January 29, 2007

More on Missional Worship

This is an excerpt from an email I sent to a woman around the area I'm at that's leading a worship workshop around my area. Most of the info that I've gotten most of my thinking can be found Here



I was raised, converted, and had many intimate moments with the Passion CDs and Hillsongs' music, so they will always be remembered in my heart and I honor them for aiding me in becoming more intimate with Christ. However, as I have had more unsaved friends and tried sharing the music with them, they would often recoil in disgust over the style (rather than content) of the music, and it's become a revelation to me that instead of Jesus Christ being the stumbling block to spreading the Gospel, it's been the music style and the entire Christian sub-culture. If worship includes one's entire life, and music is but a small snapshot, and music style is but one of many vessels to "worship" God then as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 9:19:

19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

To the Jew, I'm a Jew. To the gentile, I'm a gentile. For the grunge rocker, I become a grunge rocker. For the alternative rock, I become alternative rock. For the high-energy, scremo, angst ridden emo indie rocker, I become a high-energy, screamo, angst ridden emo indie rocker. . . Or to the level that I can being a white-washed, Korean-American. . . Because music style is not a central issue to the true heart of worship (John 4:23), Paul states style ought to change for the sake of the Gospel. My "audience" should not be primarily focused on those who are already saved, but the lost in the surrounding community as Jesus, as our example, states in Matthew 9:11-13, that "it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."

The prescription for the sick and dying is Jesus, and not worship music, style, or any of that. And if any worship music and style become such a huge stumbling block to the "regulars" and non-believers (where the "regulars" want the standard Christian "worship" songs, and the non-believers won't even tolerate listening to any of that because the style is so foreign and grates against their nerves), and it's not Jesus Christ, then the idol of music needs to be broken, and the "regulars" and leadership need to repent of their ultimately selfish ways -- placing their personal preferences to worship style over those of the dying community.

I'm focusing ultimately on music style, and not necessarily content -- true, authentic worship will always be bringing ultimate glory to Jesus Christ. That's a non-negotiable.

Unfortunately, the American Christian sub-culture, where most of the worship leaders were raised in including myself, along with the way the Air Force Chapel services are focused, promote a worship music style that is entirely foreign to the rest of the dying world. It's become such a sub-culture that Christian worship music has it's own genre! Perhaps it's not so shocking to us being raised in it for so long, but I could never imagine the Apostle Paul, though raised as a Jew, attempting to reach the Gentiles with the Jewish hymns he was raised with! Or another example, just as we wouldn't push American Worship music to African tribes, we some how think we should push it onto our neighbors, who are essentially completely separate from the Christian sub-culture.

The standard "Christian" genre of music has become irrelevant, and foreign (if not distasteful) to most (but not all!) dying world yet churches continue and push it on Sunday services for whatever reasons often stating that we want to build up the "believers" and are basically pushing away the non-believers.

Which leads to the underlying disease and dysfunction of the majority of chapels/churches along with their leadership (which includes worship leaders)-- the churches have lost their mission of making disciples of the nation, and instead have replaced it with a congregation-glorifying, Babel Gospel. It's no longer about glorifying the mission of Jesus, to go engage the dying culture around us, creating disciples of all nations, tribes, sub-cultures, people groups, tongues, etc. It's become a Babel gospel, where Christian families "circle the wagons" in a Sunday service to protect themselves from the evils of the world. It's not about going into the world to be the salt that transforms culture from the inside out, but it's more about erecting huge walls to separate the "holy" Christian community from the rest of the "evil" world.

Where is the church that weeps for its community as Jesus weeps for Jerusalem in Luke 13:31? Certainly, if the people and leadership had hearts that burned for the sick and dying as Jesus does, they would die to their personal preferences for the sake of bringing as many people to Jesus.

And the bigger question then arises, are we as a church missing what true worship is? Just because as worship leaders we play songs that are labelled as "worship" does that mean we're actually worshipping? If we say we love God through song, but don't love the community around us and not fulfill the second greatest commandment, are we not hypocrites and are actually displeasing God? If we say as worship leaders, that we're going to fulfill our personal preferences and those in the congregation over the preferences of the lost aren't we essentially hating and distancing from the community around us and ultimately hating God?

Aren't we being cultural imperalists saying to the unsaved that if they want to join the community and be witnessed to, they must first convert to the American Christian sub-culture, before converting to Jesus?

I write the above coming from the inside of Christian sub-culture. I was raised in it, and probably this revelation didn't become fully articulate to me until about over a year ago. It's always been on my mind, but I couldn't quite place it. I've been to hordes of Charismatic worship sessions and over and over I've noticed that the numbers of the "worshipers" were majority Christian-raised, and not new believers. We're doing something wrong as a church if new believers aren't added in large multitudes because the Gospel is THAT powerful. We've erected monuments to ourselves and to the Christian music genre to fulfill our personal preferences, rather than dying to ourselves for the sake of the gospel.

I've also done as much as I could to communicate and implement "Missional Worship" at SMA and the Protestant Singles of the Chapel, and what I've discovered is that what I'm talking about above is complete SUICIDE without full leadership support! Supposed "Christians" don't seem to care to reach the lost in these, what end up amounting to, Christian clubs. . . They're in a constant, "serve me" mentality, rather than a "how can I declare the glory of Christ to the dying culture" mentality. The leadership oppossed me, and I got swallowed up by the Pharisee-Christians. The leadership's mentality was to keep what they had, and not risk it for the sake of fulfilling the mission of the church. Leadership in communities like that, I would argue, are not Christ glorifying and are bad witnesses to the community around them displaying hypocrisy and legalism.

Sure, the leadership doesn't want to offend the people already in the pews, but what about the fact that they're offending Jesus!? In the end, isn't it about glorifying Jesus and not the people around us?

So I guess, Missional Worship isn't something that could even be implemented in most churches even if worship leaders tried to do it and if they did attempt to, the worship leaders would, in essence, be crucified by the very congregants and leadership! But nevertheless, bad teaching should not be perepetuated or encouraged!

Of the three ministries I've been involved with, only the Youth Group seems to be the place where it is allowed to happen. And that's only because I have full support from the Youth Pastor.

It's okay for us to be Missionally focused in Youth Groups, and when we go to foreign countries, but when it comes to our local adult community the resounding response is, "Forget it! Serve our wants, not theirs. Protect us from the evils of the world, and let's not engage it."

What's needed when less than 10% of the KMC area are bible-believing, Jesus-loving Christians, is for the leadership to have more than just a "holy-nudge," but a "holy-slap." There needs to be complete repentence from the music idolotry, and Christian sub-culture selfishness that's being promoted in many churches/chapels today. We need to understand worship to be much larger than just a music genre, and realize our entire lives, our entire congregations, our entire churches, are the actual worship.

To continue and work on worship music style and skill, rather than the heart of the issue -- the fact that many churches have placed our personal preference toward music style over the mission of declaring the Gospel to all tongues, nations, tribes, sub-groups, cliques, sub-cultures, etc. -- will ultimately be in vain and only perpetuate the idols we've created in "worship" music. God is not pleased by our narrow view of worship through music, and our selfishness ultimately hinders the Gospel.

It's no longer about being "politically correct" or being unnoffensive. Jesus was offensive. The cross is offensive. The established religious order crucified Christ for what he stood for. What Jesus cared about was doing the will of God and not the will of the established religious order. The Gospel is a radical lifestyle that should be radically implemented in communities that profess their allegiance to Jesus. The American Christian communities at large can no longer afford to remain unengaged with the culture around them. People's eternities are at stake and it will take a proactive, mission-driven, radical drive to turn around the dying churches and transform the communities through the power of Christ. Propelling a single worship style will no longer succeed in today's post-modern, multi-cultural world (though it did in the 80s).