Monday, July 29, 2013

Air Conditioning Side Effects?

My seat in the choir puts me behind the organ console. This limits what I can see of the church. What I can see well are the lamps on or hanging from the ceiling, as well as lamps on the roof trusses.

Yesterday, I noticed something I had never seen before, namely significant swinging of the nave lanterns. Three of the lanterns on the font side of the church exhibited very conspicuous swinging, and two others swung almost imperceptibly. The movement was not constant, however; it came and went. I cannot say that the swinging was synchronized with the cycling of the air conditioning, but I suspect that it might be. Curiously, I saw no such motion on the pulpit side of the church, even though the church (and the air conditioning vents) are symmetrical.

The motion does not seem dangerous, though it is a bit distracting, at least if you’re trapped behind the organ console. Do you suppose the new air conditioning is responsible?

Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church

I don’t usually use a blog post simply to call attention to a story or essay elsewhere, but I’m making an exception here.

Although I can enumerate the things I like to see in a church, I don’t trust my instincts about what others are looking for, particularly what young adults are seeking. A CNN blog post by Rachel Held Evans seems pretty credible, however, and I recommend reading it for whatever lessons it might hold for St. Paul’s.

You can find “Why millennials are leaving the church” here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mission Trips

Youth mission trips have become quite popular at St. Paul’s. Many events help fund these trips. No doubt, much good work is done on these trips, and they seems to be much appreciated by the kids who participate.

I have long asked myself, however, if it would not be better to have our youth doing work in the Pittsburgh area. Not only would this help build our own community. It would also be an eye-opener for St. Paul’s youth, who might find that, say, Wilkinsburg is rather different from Mt. Lebanon. Additionally, although a mission trip in Greater Pittsburgh would lack the glamor of a trip out of town, the funds expended on such an enterprise would go a lot further with fewer travel-related expenses to fund.

A Facebook friend posted an article about mission trips that echoes my concerns. it also suggests another advantage of mission projects close to home—such a project can continue beyond a single week in the summer. Here is a sample paragraph from “Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip”:
I believe in missions. I also believe in short-term mission trips. Yet the longer I work in the resource-poor inner city, the more frustrated I become with the amount of money God’s people spend on these brief trips. We seem so eager to spend thousands of dollars sending our people overseas for one week without stopping to ask, “Would some of this money be better invested in my own community?”
You can read the whole article here.