We think we know you

th-3We think we know you.

We feel like we have a pretty good take on the average Catch reader. And since most of it is good (though not always recognized as good by other Christians) let me encourage you with this.

First and foremost, you are Christians who feel you have a right to what you believe (and you do). You are spiritual, but most interested in developing you own faith. This does not mean you make up things; it means you are seeking true truth even if it doesn’t go along with the more popularly held Christian values espoused by other Christians you know.

You want to decide for yourselves what belief looks like. Your Christianity has been over-structured and you want to find freedom in faith — what Os Guinness calls soul freedom. Though you may have had little encouragement in the right to choose your own path of belief, you are taking it anyway, and the Catch turns out to be a community that supports this independent thinking instead of discouraging it. Up until now, you have felt trapped in spiritual environments with limited choices. The Catch is freeing.

Most of you are most likely embarrassed by Christians behaving badly in the world. You are looking for something you can seek your teeth into — something with an edge to it — something you can share with non-Christian friends and say: “See, not all Christians are what you think they are.”

A few of you owe your continuing faith to the Catch.

Thus, many of you feel like you are getting away with something. You want to share the Catch, but you don’t. Marti says it’s like sneaking off with the girls to a male strip joint and finding out it’s really a lot of fun, but who can you tell?

You are loyal because we have shared something human— on a deeper level than  other Christians you know. You realize you have been playing a kind of game with church. You go along with it, but you know it only goes so far. Something like the Catch goes farther. It blows the whistle on the game. You like that but then again, you don’t,  because you’re on the fence. So the fact that you can access the Catch privately, and you don’t have to share it with your pastor of Bible study group makes you think you are getting away with something.

Because of the personal nature of the writing, you feel connected to us, as if you know us, so you want to get some personal encouragement (if we can do it; you can do it).
The Catch is not like a devotional that only brings you closer to the Lord; it brings you closer to yourself, because you see yourself and experience yourself vicariously through the writing. You are coming for your own growth and your own connection with your humanness that doesn’t get much attention normally in Christian circles.

You like to laugh. It draws you out. You like to share the Catch with a few selective close friends – husbands and wives reading together – permission to be human. You like being drawn in and not told what to believe and do. You also don’t buy everything. You don’t agree with everything. You like the fact that you aren’t expected to agree. This makes you fiercely loyal because you feel like you have found an oasis in the desert.

Now if we could just get you to share the Catch with others.

There are so many more people like you who would benefit from this. We need your help letting people know. We understand how you might like to keep it to yourself, but don’t. It’s too important. Give it away. We’re creating a rich resource here for believers worldwide. We are going somewhere. Come go with us and spread the word! We’re so glad you’re here!

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20 Responses to We think we know you

  1. Well, you’ve got me pretty much nailed. The sight of “Christians behaving badly” was one of the things that kept me away from Christ, and while I was already well-founded in my faith when I discovered The Catch (thanks to a friend of my wife’s), it — and your book, “Confessions of a Caffeinated Christian” — did focus me more on the concept of Jesus’ love and God’s grace, while not losing sight of the fact that Grace wouldn’t have been necessary without sin in the first place. As you point out, that’s not always a popular view among churches, but it’s the one that rings most true to me.

  2. greg Krejci says:

    I share the Catch with my family on almost a nightly basis as we settle in for our evening devotions. All four of my kids love it when I read it and they tell me how much they like it. They are in their late teens and early 20’s and they get it. I also am very privledged to be able to share The Catch with my pastors at our church. Thank you for putting out such thought provoking work. I am 56 years old but I still learn alot and a lot of times am very convicted about some of stuff I have absorbed in my 40 years as a Believer.

  3. Carole in Midland says:

    Eureka, John! I think you’ve described us “rebels with a Cause” pretty well -those of us who are not good at following rules just because they are “rules;” who prefer to dig under or climb over the fence rather than use the gate; those of us who question nearly everything and actually listen for the answer (and then likely question THAT). I would say to any “closet” Catchers out there (to quote Glenda the Good Witch of the North) – “It’s all right. You can come out now!” The whole world is holding its breath, just dying (literally) to hear what we have heard – it’s just the world may not KNOW that it’s waiting UNTIL we come out and share it.

    • Deana says:

      I agree with you Carole that “the world may not KNOW that it’s waiting UNTIL we share” the Good News. It’s taken me years to understand the gift that I was being offered.and I think everyone needs the opportunity to hear the Good News! I need to break through my fear and share it more.

    • jwfisch says:

      Nice!

  4. Mark Seguin says:

    I’ve shared the Catch w/ my friends & Biz parnters. I luv it here, plus Pastor John & Marti and the many things I’ve learned here… The things I’d like to ask is plz Pastor John to consider trying to refrain from making political statements. Such as: “Jesus could have been a communist..”

    As I wrote a few times back then it had nothing to do w/ communism, if u wud have wrote Jesus could have been a capitalist, that wud have bothered me… To try to reduce my Savoir down to a that type of a political statement to other than want He is – My Savoir and my God that died for me! Now i know and try to understand u and 2 other catch members tried to explain that catch was about the miss-use of labels… Well lets go back to where this all started when i had posted a day before that Pete Seegar was a communist, which surely is true becauz he called himself that!

    Three other Catch members other then me, didn’t fully understand it either – that all label are bad… Such as Ralph G, Andrew P or why wud he have posted John plz practice wat u preach. in one hand u say dont use labels, yet in the next sentence write Jesus could have been a communist. The other point that showed he too didnt ‘get it’ was Willian d, or why wuld he write the post is silly. label are just a shorthand way of comminacations. instead of needing to write 2 or 3 paragraphs to try and explain commuinism…

    Yet now you’re asking me, which i often do ask my friends to read the Catch and a few have mentioned in how u once wrote to read Dale C book: “How to Win…” which caused me to post a few times on that catch to plz practice wat u preach. So when more then two to three to four catch members DID NOT understand the point u were trying to make. I think/believe a few people w/ more then one ounce of people skills wud very easily understand one may need to clearify themsevles and maybe to consider offering an apology too…

    Yet wat we get is: (U John wrote) “I read and re-read that catch and wouldn’t change anything.” And that to me is one of the most self-righteous things I’ve read in a while and is jus loaded w/ Dale C thing he suggests… And then u go on to post this complete psych babble: “What happened here is I stepped into a minefield… OMG plz Pastor John stop that type of pop psychology, complete psycho babble and BS bologna and learn to admit u might have made a mistake and wasn’t very clear…

    Then maybe some of my sometime ‘self-righteous’ LOL friends may post here and not jus read the Catch..
    PS plz also consider Pastor John I have since learned the next day, which i wudn’t have known becauz i left the catch because of what i considered @ the time was a bit too much politics, which i get more then enough from the TV News and dont need it here where i wud like to try and draw closer to my Savoir. Anyway the next day u wrote i kicked over a can of worms, which to most can be seen as u knowning u didnt do something very ‘kosher’ or cool. and plz try to get over this need to advoid confrontation – sometimes it needs to be done. or simply re-state yourself.

    • Mark S. says:

      Pastor John your silence regarding my feelings is deafening to me and thank-you 4 that, which also is an answer to me & my other friends…

      • TimC says:

        Mark: Did it occur to you that John might be totally jammed busy? You have some interesting questions and crafting a complete response can take a ton of time that John might not have. John has family, and I think I caught the drift that he also has taken a part-time job to help pay the bills.

        Once in a while, we might need to help each other out, when the load is too great, so perhaps I might be able to offer a thought.

        Take a look at it this way… Remove all politics and bad connotations from the word ‘communist’. It’s a perfectly good word. It means to share. The early Christians ‘shared all things in common’. That sounds a lot like the perfectly good word ‘communist’. And yes, it is totally maddening that a perfectly good word has been ruined by politics. But this is just one of those things where The Catch is all about thinking outside of the typical “Christian” box. No one is saying that we should be Communists with a capital C, in the political sense, but rather communists in the spiritual sense.

        I hope that helps.

      • Mark S. says:

        Yes as a matter of fact it did and thank-you Tim… 🙂

      • Carole in Midland says:

        Your comment below is Excellent, Tim C! This is exactly the point I tried to make in my comments the FIRST time this issue came up, but your wording here is superb. It is important for us to remember that the Catch is written to ALL of us, much as a sermon is given to the entire congregation, not one individual member. In that setting, if we had a question or needed clarification, we would address the issue one-on-one with the pastor in his office or his/our home. That isn’t possible in this instance, but I KNOW that John and Marti welcome personal emails (as they and I have exchanged many over the years).

      • Mark Seguin says:

        Let me plz ‘say’ I could be wrong, I often am and I’m sure I’ll be again in the future, yet this in regard to about sending private emails, I’ll simply agree to disagree with because I’ve learned from another discussion board, this is a public blog, so therefore I think/feel the discussion that are brought-up here should be dealt with publically and this request to try and get more people here. Such as family, friends, business associates, facebook and tweeter friends to come here to join the Catch – I may now have a bit of a hard time doing that, simply because I cannot in goods conscience for the reasons I see often happening here by Pastor John questions and confrontations are ignored wayyy too often….

        I jus fired two of my Doctors for a similar reason of not listening to and acknowledging me, also having no people skills what-so-ever, (at least they weren’t hypocrites in telling me to read Dale C’s book, How to Win…yet NOT applying those principles) So seeing I’ve learned how to value myself & feelings and when others do not, I know I can be better off without trying to deal with them in my life, yet how frustrating it is! Being here on the Catch can sometimes be, because questions and simple confrontations of feelings/emotions are often ignored!

        Now I couldn’t do that as a child, either walk away, or speak out when my father also had this COMPLETE jackass philosophy of ignoring things or feelings & thinking ‘they’ll’ eventually go away, which a few other people/friends in a few Churches I’ve attended felt that way too – Ignore it and your feelings will eventually go-way. That, I like to consider as being both kind of or in-a-way spiritually & emotionally un-educated also a bit in-maturate, because most , or some do understand if something, especially feeling (emotions) aren’t dealt within an appropriate amount of time and not this denying them, or let go and give them to God. In which I can very easily imagine Him ‘saying’ plz learn how to deal w/ them and STOP trying to avoid them, because eventually they’ll more then likely come back in another way, or shape or form and cause more harm and there is nothing wrong w/ a discussion or healthy confrontation about feelings! LOL 🙂

        Also, Ralph G., noticed, which I didn’t @ the time, you John DIDN’T take one ounce of the blame for me deciding to leave the Catch, which you should have known simply because I posted about it MORE then once on the “Label” Catch and you, the only thing I can surmise is your need to avoid confrontation didn’t try to answer anyone of my heart-felt concerns, or questions – Yet you blamed me for leaving, which is true – it was my decision – out of pure frustration!!!

        I’d like to think/consider when four catch members (even if was ONLY one Catch member!) did not understand you should have as most people w/ more then one ounce of knowledge of Dale C’s book know to answer questions and offer some clarification and maybe even consider or no dare I say it, offer an apology. Yet again what we got was the great example of what I feel is to be considered a self-righteous statement and not reading and understanding Catch members, yet u want me to try and get u more..?

        PS TimC, maybe u can understand me a bit more now by considering this as been going on for months… and seeing how John has been tweetering i think that may suggest he also wud or cud have found the time to reply…

      • TimC says:

        Well… Mark, I’ve been pondering… I can’t respond directly to your situation because I don’t have all of the info, (and I really don’t think that it is a good idea to bring out every detail here.) But what I’ve come up with is this.

        You, like many people, are aching for personal relationships with other people. It’s only natural because that is the way God made us. God made us in His image, which interestingly enough, has built-in relationships, Father, Son and Spirit. God made us for relationships.

        Unfortunately, the internet is a horrible place for personal relationships. Some of the things that get “lost in the translation” are body language, voice inflection, and responses as in a conversation.

        The good part of the internet is the sharing of information and thoughts. And, interestingly enough, one of the ways that the internet gets used is for starting relationships. But what often happens, is that once an internet relationship gets started, people figure out how to meet in person. And there are a ton of dating sites that do just that.

        The Catch is not one of those places. The strength of The Catch is for sharing ideas. John and Marti both think outside of the typical Christian box and as a result, sometimes they say something which pokes me in the spiritual eye, or steps on my spiritual toe, or kicks me in the spiritual stomach. And, of course, that hurts, but of course, I realize that that is a good thing. They make me think about my life with Christ, and my faulty ideas of the Gospel that need to be wrestled out of me.

        But again, the trouble with the internet is with relationships. The Catch has its strengths, but it is not like a local gathering of people, believers and seekers, who are looking for the truth. The Catch is not a typical church with pastors and musicians and all of that. And yes, I’ve noticed that you give John the title of Pastor, but I imagine that makes John somewhat uncomfortable. The trouble is that “Pastor” refers to someone who is a personal “shepherd” of a local gathering. And with all of us spread all around the world, there is no way that John can possibly be a personal Pastor to each one of us – most of us who have never met personally. Each of us needs to be growing in our relationship with Christ. Each one of us needs to be gaining the mind of Christ in all we do.

        And interestingly enough, Jesus’ way of doing things is usually completely contrary to the normal human way of doing things. When humans feel that we have been wronged it is natural (but wrong) to demand an apology. Jesus requires that we “turn the other cheek” and forgive – even when no apology is offered. The trouble is that if we don’t forgive, we are the one who loses. We are the one who gets stuck and fails to grow. And yes, that is the plank that we need to remove from our own eye, before we will see clearly to help our brother with the speck in his eye.

        I hope that makes sense.

      • Mark Seguin says:

        Many thx TimC 4 at least the acknowledgement of my compliant, appreciate it and you… 🙂

  5. Mark Seguin says:

    Great article Bob! 🙂

  6. TimC says:

    A couple more thoughts…

    I appreciate being made to think and having my eyes opened daily. And I don’t mind being whacked up along side the head with a (figurative) 2×4 once in a while.

    I also appreciate the dialog that occurs among members. I think it’s healthy when we can discuss an idea freely and openly. Sometimes an argument will erupt, but it’s good to be able to take some time to think thru a thought that bugs us and ask a question.

    One struggle I have is with time; I don’t always have time to comment, and by the time I do, two or three days have gone by and the subject has changed. So in that regard, it is good when a topic will grow for a few days.

    So three cheers for many more.

    • Carole in Midland says:

      Same here, Tim! Those of us with convoluted thinking patterns have a few extra bends to go around before we reach a conclusion. Sometimes by the time I have jumped thru all my
      mental hoops and chased a few thoughts down rabbit holes, it is a week after the initial topic was addressed. In those instances, I might just drop John and/or Marti a note rather than post in comments. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I sure miss those teleconference Bible studies…

  7. It’s hard to be a rebel on a site of rebels

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