What I’ve Learned from the First Year of Home Ownership

It’s in some ways hard to believe that one year ago on December 13th we closed on our house and started moving in later that day. A year removed from that date, it seems hard to think it has been a year. In many ways we have made it our home and it seems like we’ve been living here longer than just a year. In other ways, it is hard to think we’ve lived here a year already and that we’re quickly closing in on the end of another year.

Regardless, I thought I would just commemorate the anniversary with some things that we’ve learned, or at least I can say I’ve learned, over the past year when it comes to owning a house.

1. It is a Lot of Work – We have only rented before so we never really had to shovel driveways completely, mow lawns, or try to repair any major issues that came up. This is not the case when you own a house. You’re the one who has to do the work or you have to hire someone else to do it. Plus a house tends to be a lot more space than renting an apartment and thus simply requires more work to clean and maintain.

This isn’t entirely a bad thing as it also allows for more creative freedom. You can paint rooms and replace parts of the house that you dislike with whatever you want, but even this will require work. We’ve just found that it is a bit more work keeping up a house with a lawn than what we’ve had to do the previous eight years while living in an apartment.

2. We Feel More Rooted – After years of only renting, one of the things that drew us to buy a house was to intentionally be a part of the community that we’re living. Now while we haven’t made any significant connections this past year, it has even been nice being a part of the neighborhood trick or treating and putting up Christmas lights.

Hopefully as time goes by we’ll also be more connected to the people we live near, but I suppose time will tell how that goes. We have met some of our neighbors, but we’ll see if that will develop into anything more.

The down side of this is that a house is a major investment and roots you into place in not so good ways too. Paying off a mortgage, repairs, maintenance, and improvements to the house is an easy way to shed a lot of money. Not that we’re really planning to be moving anywhere else anytime soon, but it would make such a decision very difficult to pull off too fast.

3. Having More Space Takes Getting Used To – When we lived in apartments our living space tended to be very condensed. We would have our computer and our television in the same room, fairly close to each other, and it would mean that the whole family was always together, often times you could even see the kitchen from the living room too so nobody was out of sight unless they were going to the bathroom, sleeping or doing laundry.

This has not been the case of our new house. You can’t see the kitchen from the living room. The computer and television are now in separate rooms. This took everyone a lot of time to get used to. Personally I’ve enjoyed the ability to have a bit more space, but not everyone has shared that sentiment.

4. Improving A Home is an Ongoing Endeavor – Sometimes I get caught up feeling like we should be doing more to get our home the way we would like it and get discouraged when we don’t have the time or the money to do certain things. However, something I’ve had to learn and even re-learn a bit this past year is that we don’t have to get everything the way we want it right away. We can do one thing at a time and everything doesn’t have to done right now.

Not only that, but over time things will break and need repaired or replaced and there will be no end to that. Even if we were able to fully realize all the dreams we have for our house it still wouldn’t be over. There will still be the need to work to maintain and update as time goes on. That’s just the way life goes.

So these are the things that I’ve learned over the past year. We have really enjoyed living in a house the past year and it has been nicer than renting, even though we had mostly good renting experiences. I’d also be lying though to say it hasn’t included more work and that it has been a bit difficult to do all the work we need with two young kids. Hopefully we’ll continue to enjoy our house and improve it little by little over the years.

 

 

Halfway Through 2014

It’s hard to believe that we’re at the halfway point of the year already. As I have been doing the last couple years, I like to take the halfway point to reflect on some of the goals that I’ve set for the year. I tend to post my goals at the beginning of the year and then comment on them at the middle and the end of the year to see how they’ve gone. Honestly, it’s a rather mixed bad, but let’s look at how we’ve done.

1. Get Connected In Our Local Community – This one still hasn’t gone as far as we might have liked. We’ve met some of our neighbors, but nothing too meaningful. I’m a little more involved in our church, but it’s also going through a bit of a transition at the moment so it’s a little choppy. So we’re largely without any close community at the moment. We’re really hoping that with Ryan starting preschool/pre-K in the fall we’ll get connecting with some other people our age or at least who have kids our age. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

2. Paying Off Loans – This one has been a success already. We’ve paid off the smaller student loans that we had, but now we have two large ones (one from each of us) to tackle. This endeavor will probably take a bit longer, but we’re starting to put more money towards them to pay them down quicker.

3. Painting – Yeah this hasn’t happened. We want it to, but quite frankly don’t know how the logistics will work. We’ve had to buy other things for the house (like stuff for yard work) so we haven’t put the money towards painting yet. Plus we just don’t quite know how to paint and how we’d work the logistics with two little ones. We’re still hoping to get at least one room done this year, but who knows if that will happen.

4. Buy Living Room Furniture – This was a success. We finally bought a nice couch and loveseat earlier this year. They’re quite the improvement over our old futon.

5. Reading a Book a Month – I think I’m on track for this. So far I’ve read six and have almost finished a seventh. This book I’m on now has slowed me down quite a bit, but hopefully I’ll keep up a good pace and maybe even read more than one a month.

6. A Picture a Day – This one failed pretty much right out of the gate. I did good for like a week then wound up really sick for a month. That pretty much killed any momentum I had. I thought about trying to start up doing it another month, but just never did. I have still been using my camera and getting pictures here and there, but nothing as consistent as a picture a day.

7. Consistent Blogging – I think this has been a success. I think I at least put one blog post out a week, sometimes even two. I’d like to me even more consistent than I am, but overall I think I’m doing fairly decent. I did fail on this one a bit, because I decided early this year to get rid of my Wandering of the Week because I wound up being burnt out on other blogs trying to read so many in the space of a week. I may revisit the idea later and accept being about 20-30 days behind the freshest blogs out there. We’ll see.

So that’s how I’m doing so far. Some are already successes, others are major failures, some are successful so far. I guess we’ll have to see at the end of the year how everything pans out. If you’ve set any goals for yourself this year how are you doing?

The Battlefield of Schooling Options: Home Schooling

I was hoping to get this post out much week, but the last couple weeks wound up being fairly busy and I just didn’t have the time to get this finished. Better late than never right?

Here is my last schooling option that I’m going to take a look at. It is the home schooling option. It seems to me that this option has become an increasingly popular option as more and more people become dissatisfied with public schools for a variety of reasons. Maybe it has always been popular and I just wasn’t exposed to it when I was younger, but today I hear about it fairly often.

So naturally as we think about schooling options for Ryan this is one we’ve considered and thought through. As with all of the other options there are a host of pros and cons I’ve thought of. I by no means claim to know all of the nuances or if we’d really fall into the pros or cons mentioned, but they are out there and need to be considered.

Flexibility

Homeschooling is definitely the option that allows the most flexibility. Want to teach all through the year instead of three fourths of the  year? Go for it. Want to be able to take family trips to museums, libraries, historical sites, or other cities during the school year, and even incorporate that into your teaching? No problem. Want to additionally teach about your faith and connect it into certain subjects? You can do that.

Now there are constraints on this flexibility. Looking up info for my state (Pennsylvania) about homeschooling, parents are to have a portfolio of a students work for a year sent to the school district they’re currently living in to be reviewed. They’re also required to do standardized testing in grades 3, 5, and 8. There are also requirements for the education as well, here is an example from PA, but most of the subjects are fairly general and allow for some amount of freedom.

Homeschooling definitely allows for a flexible schedule that can be beneficial for some families wanting to pursue it as an option. There are a couple negatives that I could see spinning off of this positive, but I’ll come to those later, as I think they’re significant enough to have their own mention.

Hand Crafted Education

When you go to public or even private school there will be a classroom that contains more than just your child. This means that you’ll go the pace of the classroom and depending on the child that may be too slow, too fast, or just right. By going the home schooling route it allows for  you to cater to the needs of your child or children by having them be able to follow a path that matches where they are.

Need a bit more time on a certain subject? You can take that a bit slower or focus on it a bit more for a spell. Finding that the lessons are a bit too easy? Feel free to speed up and go a little further in that particular subject. These are both option if you’re taking a home school option. This point definitely ties in with the idea that home schooling is flexible, but I think is maybe looking at it from the child’s perspective more than the parent’s.

The drawback here is that your child may get too used to everything revolving around him or her. This won’t be the case forever. College, the workplace, and many aspects of life won’t speed up or slow down to their whims, so I could see where this could potentially also do harm once they’re done with the home schooling process.

With Your Kids All Day Long

This is an aspect that can either be positive or negative. To home school it requires being with your kids every day. Not only does that mean you have to be with your kids everyday, but homeschooling requires teaching your children.

Now, this could be a great thing. You love your kids and want to spend every moment with them and you never get tired of being around them or having to meet their every need or desire. Typing that out though, I wonder if there are any parents like that… but anyhow you have a good relationship and the thought of having them stay at home all the time doesn’t phase you. Maybe it’s even a bit exciting.

However, maybe you love your kids and need breaks from being around them. Maybe you kind of look forward to time alone when they’re napping or sleeping at night. The idea of teaching them every day and not having many breaks from them may seem quite daunting. I certainly think that’s understandable, but it will be a con to the idea of homeschooling.

Teaching is Harder Than You Think

I’ve taught in a number of settings before. I’ve led Sunday school classes, small groups, and prepared sermons, but I can tell you that these things aren’t necessarily easy to prepare for. Now I realize that these things aren’t necessarily equivalent, but I do think the general action of teaching is a difficult one no matter the venue, age, or subject.

Both Kristen and I are fairly well educated, but even we feel a bit inadequate to teach both our children the entirety of K-12. Admittedly, we’d probably be able to make it through elementary school fairly decent, but getting to high school I’m worried we wouldn’t do so well. I mean a positive would be that we’d be learning stuff that we’ve long forgotten, or maybe never learned in the past. The negative is that I’m not sure that’s the best for trying to turn around and teach it.

Not only does it require intelligence to teach and pass on information, but it also requires time and diligence. You’ll have to prepare lessons, set up trips, drive to trips, teach, and all of these things on a regular basis. So not only are you having to spend all the time with your kids, you’ll also be spending a good amount of time figuring out what you’ll be teaching, how you’ll want to teach it, and actually teaching. This will take quite a bit of time, I’m sure you could ask any professional teacher about such things and may or may not like what you hear.

Bottom line it seems that a lot of home schooling proponents think that teaching is easy. That teachers are just bozos that they picked up off the street to teach their kids. That’s why the school system is so bad right? I’m not sure it’s as easy as that, and if you think it is than I somewhat worry about the quality of education you’re really going to provide as a replacement.

Requires Flexible Parents

As I said above, flexibility is a positive of home schooling. However, it really requires a situation where one parent has to be available at all times. This could be that one parent stays at home, or that both parents have flexible jobs that they can arrange their hours in such a way to have one parent who is always able to be teaching the kids.

This won’t be a possibility for a lot of families out there. Many families have both parents working to pay bills and make ends meet. So there is a bit of a financial security aspect to home schooling. It maybe isn’t quite the same as private schooling where you have to pay tuition, but it could result in less income in general, which may be better or worse depending on the situation.

I’m already the one staying at home with the kids, so this wouldn’t necessarily be an issue with us, but I know that it could be with others. Of course I’m not sure if that’s my plan for the course of the next twenty or so years that it would require to school both of our kids either. So it’s worth noting as a potential negative.

One Voice to Rule Them All

Another potential negative from the positive of flexibility is that it can result in too much control on the parent’s part. Now this could look a number of different ways in my mind. Here’s a few that come to mind.

One of my personal fears of homeschooling is that homeschooling can simply become an echo chamber for what we believe. Homeschooling certainly can limit the number of voices that speak into our kids lives. While I understand the appeal to this, I worry that I could begin to believe that Kristen and I have the right opinion on everything, or that this is the message that will be picked up by our kids. I’m sure that many are able to overcome this hurdle easily, but it is a worry that I have about homeschooling.

Related to this is the fact that control can go to a parent’s head. When we’ve taken on quite a bit of control on what our child learns and how they learn it, I could see it difficult to give up control on other decisions and begin micromanaging our kids lives. Again am I saying that every homeschooling parent does this? No, I’m just saying a worry that I’ve had about it.

Some parents want to home school so they can control what their kid learns, that can lead to a lot of control in other areas too. I mean public education isn’t the only way to learn wrong things. It just makes me worry about how I or other home school parents would deal with that control. Especially as kids become teenagers and young adults and want and almost need to be able to have at least some responsibility and decision making power.

Potential Isolationist Policy

Another aspect where I worry about with homeschooling is that it seems like a lot of people do it as a form of separation, with overtones of being superior. I guess I worry about that tone a bit, particularly when it comes from Christian circles and treating anyone outside the acceptable lines and somehow inferior either explicitly or implicitly. Add in that your voices wind up being one of the potential few teaching voices in your kids life and you could very well pass those ideas along even if you don’t mean to.

I think that if we were to home school we would need to be very very intentional about getting invovled in our community with other programs and people. Something that right now we’re not very connected in, since we’ve been here for about five months, with about three of four of them being a nasty winter. So I worry that we could be unintentionally isolationist if we were to go the route of home schooling.

Wrapping It All Up

I’m getting long here so let me wrap up. As I’ve said with all three options there are potential positives and negatives for each option out there. I don’t agree with people who try to tout one option as completely superior or more godly or whatever than the other. In my opinion in probably depends on the parents, the kids, and the area that you’re in.

So this is true of homeschooling as well. I think that homeschooling has the potential to be amazing. I also think that it has the potential to be damaging and can even be abusive in some cases. People can use it to truly seek a better way to educate their children and others can use it to control every aspect of their child’s life to dangerous degrees. I’m also not sure of those who just want to home school to spite the government or whatever.

You may wonder after all this where my preference lies. Well to be honest I think that for us, public school would be my top choice. It is an easy way for us to engage with the community, you have trained professionals involved in the acts, and we currently live in a good school district. Do I think it is perfect or the only way? No, but it is probably my preferred way.

After that I’d probably choose homeschooling. As I’ve said we don’t have the best private schools around where we are, and I’d probably feel better teaching our kids ourselves than sending them to the ones locally. This would probably only be an option that we’d follow if we have severe problems with our local school district. It’s not something I’m planning on having to act on, but it would be what I’d probably turn to if something ever did come up.

Private schools, well they’d be my last choice. They’re the most expensive option and in looking at what we have locally, I wasn’t too impressed or they’re just further than what I think we should have to go for a private school. So that’s where I stand on these issues.

What do you think? Any pros and cons that you’ve dealt with? Some you’d add? Remove? Feel free to let me know.

 

 

The Battlefield of Schooling Options: Public Schools

So with my last post I waded into a topic that seems to be pretty contentious with some people, that of how to educate your children. I decided that I wouldn’t try to stuff everything in one post. So with this post I’ll begin to look at one of the main options out there and give some of the pros and cons of that option, at least in my mind.

So let’s start with the one arena of schooling that I am most familiar with, public schools. As I said in my first post on this topic, I attended public schools from Kindergarten all the way to my senior year of high school. I also understand that I’m thirteen years removed from my last year in high school and that some things have changed. However, considering all this, let’s look at some pros, cons, and any other observations that I can think of regarding public schools.

Trained Professionals

Public school is one of the options that requires trained educators, private schools being the other. Teachers have been committed to years of education, as well as additional tests and state certifications in order to become a teacher. Does this mean that every person that goes to school for education will be a good teacher? No, but honestly you could say that about any major and any profession.

Teachers seem to get the brunt of a lot of suspicion today. I’m not sure really what the cause is. A distrust of professionals? Belief that we can do things better? Bad experiences with teachers in the past? Viewing them simply as cogs in a government system rather than humans? I’m honestly not really sure. I’m not sure I like it though.

I think back to my time in school and I liked my teachers with a few exceptions. I thought they taught me well enough to succeed in both undergraduate and graduate school. These are people who put a lot of time and effort into becoming, remaining, and doing the work it takes to be a teacher. This doesn’t mean that every teacher is a good teacher or that a good teacher equals a perfect teacher, but it doesn’t mean that we need to collectively throw the teaching profession out the window either.

The Social Element

Being exposed to other kids your age is a tricky thing. It is a reason that a lot of people send their children to public or even private school over home-schooling. This would also be a positive in our minds, but it is not necessarily something that is impossible with home-schooling either.

Having just moved into a new area about a year and a half ago, we don’t know many people. Our church that we are attending right now doesn’t have many young families, in fact I’d say only one young family attends regularly at the moment. Due to this our son hasn’t really been around many kids his own age. He’s mostly interacted with people older than him.

So this is why we would view schooling out of the house as a positive for interacting with kids his own age. It may not be for everyone if interacting with other children isn’t that important to you, or if you have a great network of kids to interact with through church or some other venue.

We do think that interacting with your own age group is needed in addition to being involved with other ages as well. We also don’t have a good network at this time for children the same age as ours. Yes, we know that not every kid is a good influence, but that’s true no matter if the kid goes to your church or goes to a public school.

Part of the Community

I think part of being a Christian is being involved in the community that you are in. Personally, I think that engaging in the public school system is a way to do that. Some tend to view this in such a way that paints our children as missionaries. That they are the agents of light to combat the darkness at public school. I think that’s a lot of pressure to stick on kids.

Personally, there is a lot that goes on in my mind when I think of community involvement. I think about being engaged as parents in the life of the school. This may be simply supporting local teachers or it could be volunteering to help with activities at the school. It may even mean being constructively critical of the school when need be.

It also looks like wanting to be a part of the community. Where there are other kids there are other parents. These are parents we could get to know, connect with, and maybe even become friends with.This could lead to finding people with common interests or even to deep conversations about life and faith. I think pursuing this option could lead us to be more connected to and involved in our community than some of the other options.

Testing, Testing

So far, my reasons have been largely positive. All of them aren’t completely positive as some have down sides, but this is my first primarily negative thought regarding public schooling. As I was graduating high school a new trend was on the rise. This trend would be how education, schools, and teachers would be measured. This trend was the use of standardized testing.

I don’t see how this is a good thing. Standardized testing may be okay as one component of measuring education and how good a school is doing, but I’m not sure that having it be the only component is helpful in the least. I could actually see where it could be harmful. It could force teachers into focusing much of their time trying to teach kids how to answer these questions and turning learning into simply knowing the right answer rather than understanding and enjoying the journey to that answer.

Since this came about after my time in school, I’m not sure how much of a negative this is or even if it has to be a negative. It certainly seems a controversial issue of our day, so I imagine some negative has come out of it. It is certainly possible that if done well this could be a positive too, but I’m just not sure.

Just Another Brick in the Wall

Considering the three options I’m looking at, public schools are the ones that will typically have the most kids in a class room. This could make it difficult to find ways to teach a varied group of kids who may learn in varied ways. To be honest I didn’t really have any problems with this as a kid, but then again I tend to learn pretty good from sitting and listening to teachers which tends to be the most common model found in schools. So I may not be the best example on this.

This could be even more difficult now with the inclusion of standardized tests. I could see how that would exacerbate the problem rather than helping. Granted I’m sure that this doesn’t have to be a negative, but I imagine it is a challenge for all involved.

Location, Location, Location

This point isn’t really a positive or negative, but more an acknowledgement that different schools and school districts are different. There are those that are better and those that are worse. There are probably those that are very open to parent involvement and there may be some that dislike that idea. Schools that have better teachers, reputations, etc.

What I’m trying to say is that all public schools are not created equal. Looking into the one near you may be needed. When we bought our house, the rating of the school district was something we took into account. We are near a school district that seems to have a pretty good reputation. Maybe you don’t and other options are better. Take that into account if you need to.

It’s a Wild, Harsh, and Beautiful World Out There

Let’s face it, public school is a maelstrom of ideas. There will be kids from a variety of upbringings. You will run into kids, and parents, who have different beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors than your family has. This could be a good thing or maybe not so much depending on what those are.

Our kids may run into bullying or harassment, they may meet new ideas that challenge the faith or other beliefs that are presented in the home. They may meet best friends and have great memories. They may meet mortal enemies and have times that are terrible. Public school probably has the most unknowns in this regard. It’s up to us as parents to decide how we want to play things knowing that.

One Option Down

So this is my take on public schooling. It’s not comprehensive, it’s simply one dad’s view as they’re preparing to look at various schooling options for the future. I probably missed things that could be viewed as positives or negatives. I may not know or have gone into detail about some of the positives or negatives I presented. Overall, though I’d say that public school is a mix of good and bad and that everyone’s experience may be a bit different. Of course I believe the same is true of the other options too.

What about your thoughts? Anything you would add to either positives or negatives? Let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

What Should Church Look Like Anyway?

Controversy is an interesting beast isn’t it? All it takes is one post from a fairly well known writer to cause it and even then all that is needed is a sentence or two of that post. There is lots of knee jerk and attacks and defenses, but if you can get past all of that it usually provides the opportunity to think about important realities that need to be thought about.

Donald Miller is at the center of the controversy this week (and yes it does seem like there is about one a week somewhere on the internet, probably even more than that if we’re honest). The reason? He admitted in this post that he doesn’t go to church that often. This didn’t go over well with some and he posted a follow up to it later for further clarification and defense.

To be honest while I like Donald’s blog, I hadn’t read the posts until an article from The Gospel Coalition by Jonathan Leeman was shared by some friends on Facebook. Even then I didn’t really read them too much until Kristen asked me what I thought about the whole thing.

Now in all this I’m not really going to add to the criticism of Miller or rush to his defense. Rather I’m wanting to explore what do we think church is supposed to look like anyway?

Miller presents the typical church service as pretty much singing and a sermon and to be honest he’s not far off. Maybe add in an offering, a time for prayer, some additional reading of the Scriptures and maybe the Lord’s Supper once a month and we’ve pretty much described a number of churches on a Sunday morning. At least the five churches I’ve attended in my life.

Does not attending a gathering of believers of this model mean that you are somehow forsaking the church? That seems to be part of what the push back to Miller is saying. If you aren’t part of a traditional church model (which is probably a little different depending on your tradition) then we’re like defective Christians or something. This kind of argument just doesn’t really set well with me.

The main reason is that some traditions look a bit different for various reasons. One of the blogs I read and enjoy tends to promote more liturgical and sacramental church traditions and looks down on the evangelical way of church. So which tradition is the “way” to do church? Is there even a set way or does it look different for different people?

How about those who use discussion about Scripture instead of a typical sermon, but maintain a building? What about house churches?  Is there some kind of Christian hierarchy where you are a stronger or weaker Christian depending on your model of church?

I guess I’m just uncertain if there is a perfect “way” to go about church. There are strengths and weaknesses to about any make or model of church out there. Even Acts, which was referenced in Donald’s follow-up post and the P.S. on Jonathan’s post,  is not much help for traditional church supporters, since well there wasn’t really such an institution like we have it today.

If you look at one of the first passages about believers getting together in Acts, found in Acts 2:42-47,  it paints a little portrait of what believers did when they met together. However the details are rather meager. It says that believers dedicated themselves to the apostle’s teaching, to fellowship, to breaking bread, and to prayer. Now I think many churches do all of these, but the question is do you need a traditional church service to do this?

If you go on past Acts 2:42 though, the life of the early church is very different. Even if I’m not sure what is meant by having everything in common, they sold possessions and gave freely to each other, which I don’t think I’ve seen. They met together in the temple courts everyday and they ate together in each others homes, and it would seem that they did so regularly. Now going to the temple courts everyday would be something only the believers in Jerusalem would be able to do, but beyond that most of what was “church” was done in the homes of believers. It probably looked a lot different than most of our church services today.

What about the end of Acts? Well it’s hard to say since so much of the end of Acts is more about Paul than the focusing in on the structure of the church. The latest we get a little window into some church structure is Acts 20, but it’s not much. In Acts 20 Paul calls for some elders from Ephesus to come to him. So this shows that we have elders, but Paul also talks about how he preached to them both in public and from house to house. So again quite a significant chunk seems focused in houses rather than a dedicated spot of worship like we have. Over those gatherings were elders to oversee the fellowship for that area.

Now I’m not trying to make a case for house churches, but the point I’m trying to make is that church can look very different. However, it would seem that some from today’s church would look down on those who do things in a more informal setting rather than our current institutional, go to a church building model.

So that brings me back to Donald Miller. I think he brings some good thoughts about the church to light. I think the church service is very catered to those who learn by hearing. My wife is very much not one to learn by listening to a lecture and learns more visually or by doing. So I do think his words have some weight and the church might do well to listen to them.

However, while I think that Donald makes some good points, I’m not sure about the path he’s taken either. Don’t take that as I’m worried about Donald’s spiritual walk or anything like that. I just wonder how he integrates the corporate elements of faith into his life. I don’t think you need to be in a church building to do that, but it also isn’t something that would automatically happen even if you did have interactions with a community of believers on a regular basis.

How does his community talk about God and the Bible regularly? Do they pray together? Do the sacraments fit into that community and way of doing faith? I have no reason to necessarily answer these questions in a negative way, but they are the questions I would ask if I had the chance. I also think they are questions worthy to be asked of any church model out there, and not just of Donald Miller’s way of interacting with a community of believers.

I’m a little wary of those who come out and say their way is the only way to do church and anyone who doesn’t do church that way is walking on dangerous ground, has an anemic faith, or similar sentiment. It seems to me that the church has looked and continues to look a lot of different ways and to say there is this one magical model of church just seems misguided.

Does that reality mean there is no room for questioning or discussion? No, but I do think it needs to be done in the arena of grace. Where we are more interested in trying to see from another point of view rather than just challenge and correct anyone who isn’t doing it like us. We may still not agree in the end, but maybe we might learn something from another part of the body of Christ, the church that can’t simply be reduced to what we do on a Sunday morning or some other set period of time during the week.