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At the beginning of December I told you I was going to take a little break from blogging in order to figure out what to do with the blog.  Things were going along fine, but not as well as I thought they could.  Plus, I was in the midst of finals for the semester.  So I needed the time.

I’ve taken that time, got back into some travel posts and an occasional other posting on theology, life, and politics.

This time away has given me the break I needed to refocus.

I’m making a few changes to the blog over the next month or so.  These changes really have to do with the overall theme of the blog.

Going forward, you’ll still see posts about travel, theology, life, and politics.  However, I’m going to be hitting a few themes pretty consistently.  Somewhere in the post I’ll be focusing on church and faith.  I’ll be hitting the challenges that I have found the church in the West faces – being approachable, being enjoyable, and being relevant.  And I’ll do this by talking about how this applies to us individually, as a community, and in leadership.

In case you are wondering, here’s how I’m defining the terms I just used.

Approachable – Is God approachable?  How about church?  The pastor and leadership in the church?  More specifically – Is doubt ok?  How about questions – are they welcome in a church?  They should be.  Does the architecture create a divide between God and the people, how about with the pastor?  How is a church or pastor supposed to accompany people where they are if they see themselves as unapproachable?

Enjoyable – I’m not talking about being entertained here.  I’m talking about this – are you bored out of your mind at church?  They why the hell would you go?  Why would anyone else for that matter?  We have the best news in the history of creation – how about sharing it in a way that would actually connect with people?  Church doesn’t have to be boring – I’m not talking about just worship either.  And it doesn’t have to look or feel like a concert either.  Things that are done well are enjoyable. That’s true for high or low church worship.  It’s also true for all aspects of church and life.  Let’s be enjoyable.

Relevant – This doesn’t mean flapping in the wind on policy or doctrine.  Not even close.  This means, are we as a church talking about the things that are going on in people’s lives?  Or are we too afraid to do that?  If we are afraid, then no wonder people look for answers or comfort elsewhere.  We should be talking about porn addiction, drugs, broken relationships, violence, work stress, how we teach people, money, sex, etc.  If we can’t talk about these things in church, without there being shame involved, then where are we going to have healthy conversations with people and walk with them in their own life struggles and challenges?  How are people going to experience change in their life?  We have a message of mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  Those are powerful things when we are dealing with tough issues.  And issues isn’t the right word – all of these things pertain to people’s lives, so they are messy.  But they are real, and they are what people are dealing with daily.  Church should be too.

So there you have it. This is the new focus here at Laceduplutheran blog.  These are subjects I am passionate about and I hope you’ll see that in my writing.  I continue to welcome your comments, ideas, and examples.  Let me know if you have ideas for how I can focus on these subjects even better – who knows where it can lead.

As we go forward, you’ll see other cosmetic changes happen with the blog – all focused on what advances the discussion about the three challenges the church faces.  I hope you’ll continue to join me in exploring these things.

God bless!

Matthew