I found myself in the middle of a little firestorm (again) last week with one of the stories I published at MMI. It wasn’t the first time, and it probably won’t be the last (Todd says jokingly).
At the center of the issue was a post about Benny Hinn and Paula White. I simply gave some personal thoughts on the issue that had recently hit the tabloids (and some mainstream news outlets as well).
I was immediately greeted with comments about how terrible it was that I would even mention the subject (sinced both Hinn and White had denied its truthfulness); and how I shouldn’t write anything negative about people. (Oh, I was also accused of slander, and of name dropping for the sole purpose of increasing twitter and blog numbers).
That leads me to a couple thoughts this morning; both about MMI and about how we communicate in our Christian ‘church worker’ subculture.
MMI has always been a personal blog for me. It’s a place that I share my personal thoughts… things I like, my pet peeves, and most importantly, a place that I can share things that interest me. That could be anything from something on leadership; to something on technology; to something on church trends or leadership. All of those things interest me.
Communication and relationships are also something I have a lot of interest in. Serving on a church staff for nearly twenty years taught me that working at a church was probably the toughest job I ever had. The good and bad relationships, the politics, and the positive momentum and personal scandals make church work the most interesting, difficult, and at times, rewarding work in the world.
That’s why I’m drawn to the positive, leadership-enhancing resources that I share. I love a good article or post that challenges me to be a better leader. That’s why posts like 7 Questions that will lead to a stronger partnership between you and your senior pastor, or Is your church an equipping church or a non-equipping church? catch my interest (as they did this week). They allow me to become a better leader and learn from other’s experience; and even their mistakes. My thought in sharing these types of resources is that if they can help me, they may be able to help someone else.
To be honest, that’s probably why I’m drawn to the negative, shake-your-head, or typical church scandal type article as well. In my church staff employment, I saw many things that made me sad, angry, and simply want to give up. I’ve lived through the scandal of a watching a good friend in ministry disqualify himself from ministry right under my nose. I’ve dealt with churches that don’t know how to deal with conflict and take a bad situation and screw it up even more. It happens over and over, everyday, in churches all across America. When I read an article on a church conflict, or scandal, or something that makes me shake my head, I seriously look to see what I can learn from that. That’s why stories like Benny’s or Ted’s interest me. When I see a leader with negative traits, or someone who finds himself in a conflict that instigates a public press story, I am interested because I want to learn what has happened… if for no other reason that so that it doesn’t happen to me. I think this type of analysis, at least for me, is very helpful.
I also enjoy watching trends in the church and culture. When a foundation donates $400K for Episcopal gay liturgies, I think that’s something I should know about. Not because things like this infuriate me or stir emotions, but because it’s part of the church world and the culture in which I live. Call it ‘shop talk’ or whatever you like. For some reason, I’m interested in comparing my property tax bill to Joel Osteen’s. I think as church workers, we have at least a working knowledge of things like the house church movement or church planting. It’s part of our ‘trade’. We need to be knowledgeable.
Some people think that only positive stuff should be highlighted… that anything negative or personal should be avoided in the church world. I disagree. I think there has to be a proper balance. While I’ve not always acheived the balance I’d like here at MMI, I think overall, it features a good balance of the ‘good’, the ‘bad’, and the ‘ugly’.
Whenever I’ve written a post like the Benny one, some people accuse MMI of being sensationalistic. In fact, a friend once described MMI as one half Bible, and one half National Enquirer. To be honest, that doesn’t bother me. In fact, you only have to open your Bible to the old testament to find stories that they couldn’t print in the National Enquirer!
So… as you read MMI, remember… you’re reading my personal blog, not the New York Times (or Christianity Today for that matter). You are reading a compilation of things that interest me. In fact, that’s always been my standard for what I write about and link to here. I’m silly enough to figure that if I find something interesting, that maybe someone else will as well.
And, above all, I hope you find the links, articles, and posts to be helpful, in some way at some time, to your local ministry. That, at least, is my prayer!
Have a great week!