A Bag of Chips

WORDS FROM W.W. July 15, 2010

I’m at camp this week, experiencing life with fifty middle-schoolers, some who think they should be in the high school camp instead…and others who are longing for a week back with the elementary kids because they seem to get to swim more.
Today’s lunch consisted of a corn dog, chili, carrot and celery sticks, and a bag of potato chips…Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream! I saved the bag of chips for last because I thought I’d scoop up the chili with it.
When I opened the bag and started to reach in my fingers grasped thin air, as opposed to a thin chip. Then I looked inside the bag. My vision almost echoed before it caught sight of some ridges.
Two chips! The bag had two chips! Do you know how I knew there was two chips? I counted them!
One! Two! Thr…What?
Do you know how disappointing it is to open a bag of chips and be able to count them on half of a hand?
I was struck by the contrasts. Why spend so much time on the packaging and just put two chips in it? Why have that nice colorful logo, list the ingredients, have a nice easy to open top for the bag, and even make them a special flavor- Cheddar and Sour Cream- just to drop two chips into the pocket?
Why spend so much time making the outside look fantastic, and leave the inside almost empty? Puzzling…concentrating on selling a product that we don’t have much of.
It reminds me of a story Steve Wamberg told me about going to a Rockies’ baseball game on Coca-Cola night. For $10 you got a ticket to the game, plus a voucher for a Coke and a hot dog at the game. About the third inning he went to get his Coke and ‘dog’ only to find out they had run out of hot dogs.
Wait a minute! It’s a special night where a hot dog was being expected by about 30,000 people. He was a little disappointed, and came back and yelled up to Annie “No, one told them we were coming!”
Disappointment when something is touted or promised and isn’t delivered doesn’t promote much brand loyalty.
Let it lay it out for you. A lot of people who follow Jesus focus almost all of their attention on the outside “Christian appearance” but don’t have much to offer on the inside. Consider how “prayer empty” a large percentage of Christians are. Think about the disconnect that happens between life experience and scriptural comprehension.
Churches have a tendency to focus on the packaging of “the product’, but be short on fulfillment. There’s a focus on programming, but neglect of going to a deeper place. There’s a desire to make our buildings look pleasant and appealing, but sometimes an absence of “being” the presence of Christ to our community.
To paraphrase what Rick Rusaw says in The Externally Focused Quest, there’s a difference between “being the best church in our community” versus “being the best church for our community.” That one change in preposition makes all the difference. Being the best church in our community is still more about the packaging. Being the best church for the community is more about what the inside of the package has to offer.
Perhaps these words are simply the ramblings of a disgruntled potato chip guy, but sometimes what happens that is labeled “Christian” leaves a lot of people with a bad taste in their mouths.

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2 Comments on “A Bag of Chips”

  1. Laura Patterson Says:

    Hey, Love it! This goes perfect with my Middle school Sunday school lesson this week. May have to “borrow” it.

  2. Charly Says:

    You are an amazing teacher!


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