Archives For me

Monuments to Me

Erik Cooper —  January 31, 2011 — 5 Comments

We humans are a screwed up bunch.

Scripture clearly states we’re created with God’s nature (Genesis 1:27). Yet we’re also cursed with our own inner Charlie Sheen (Genesis 6:5). Don’t think that tension goes unnoticed as BeyondTheRisk 2.0 goes live today.


I write to express what God’s doing in me. To create something beautiful. To inspire action. To challenge perspective. To share something I value with you.

But I also write to please my inner narcissist. Because I want you to like me. For your approval. So you’ll make me feel valuable. So you’ll know who I am.

Just keeping it real.

Everything we create has the ability to elevate God and serve humanity, or become another monument to me.

We have to engage that tension with a lot of honest confession and repentance (and a good dose of loving community). It seems the only other option is to never create anything at all.

Where do you feel that tension?

Going Commando

Erik Cooper —  November 3, 2010 — 1 Comment

As you may know, I’m a churchie. I grew up in church.  Built my social networks around church.  Developed my gifts in church.  Now I co-pastor a church. (And for the record, I absolutely love God’s Church).

But even though I’ve heard more sermons than Peyton Manning has passing yards, there are still some things I’ve absorbed into my understanding of God that just aren’t true.

The biggest gaffe most churchies face is allowing Jesus to just become a culture (no offense to Kim Walker).  A philosophy to ascribe to.  An unwritten list of behaviors and thought processes that protect us from a sinful world. Like a supernatural Batman suit repelling evil as I, the dark knight, make my way through the sludge of this disgusting world into the glory of eternity.

Visually, it may look something like this:

But keeping up this facade is futile, frustrating, and exhausting (and not as appealing to non-churchies as the Batman analogy might make it seem).

So I see many of my churchie friends rejecting this “Jesus as just a culture” way of life.  Throwing off many of the ridiculous, behavior-based expectations they often grew up with.  Breaking free.  Going commando (be careful Googling that if you don’t know what it means).

And in so many ways, I love it. I’m right there with you.  Except for one concern.

At the center of this lie many of us grew up believing about God was…me. Cultural protection. Self protection. Self righteousness. MeAnd simply removing the outer layer still leaves the exact same person at the center.

Shedding lies without embracing the truth just leaves you naked.

The truth of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ comes to live inside of me. That me dies.  That Christ becomes the new center.  And out of His life flows my life.  True life.  True freedom.

“Christ lives in me.  The life you see me living is not “mine.” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I am not going to go back on that.” (Gal. 2:21 MSG)

So lose the lies.  Shed the baggage.  Go commando. Christ came so that you could be free.

Free to put Him at the center.

The Problem with the Church

Erik Cooper —  September 8, 2010 — 1 Comment

The problem with the church isn’t poor leadership.

It’s not large, debt drowned buildings.

Or runaway wall-street-like organizational models.

The problem isn’t ignorance of injustice.

Old-fashioned stodgy tradition.

Conflicting expressions of “worship.”

Or a lack of authentic community.

The problem isn’t passionless pastors.

Anemic teaching.

The wrong model of discipleship.

Misaligned partnerships.

Or climbing in bed with politics.

It’s not myopic strategy.

Apathetic fat-cat church boards.

Lack of creativity.

Or cultural irrelevance.

All these things may describe churches with problems. But not one of them is The Problem with the church.

That’s because the unequivocal, undeniable, unmistakable problem with the church is…

No, not me the guy writing this post (although I surely play my part). Me the concept. Me the pursuit. Me the idol.

There is an insatiable human desire to recreate a gospel that serves this Me. To build a Me-kingdom (perhaps on a mass of underpriced swampland in Central Florida). Formulating, casting, and then bowing down to a god that serves my projection of the way the world should be. A god that will go along on my ride. To my chosen destination.

This Me-god is made in my image. Made for my purpose.

That, my friends, is the problem with the church.

It’s full of Me.

Everything else is just a symptom.

But it’s easier to blame the system. The organization.  The money.  The style.  The committees.  It’s safer that way.  To point at a lifeless structure.  At them.  Because Me doesn’t like to deal with Me. It’s more cost-effective to blame everything else.

The cure to this illness doesn’t lie in the newest trends. The latest books. Or a throwback to good ol’ George Bush strategery. It’s more radical than that.

Me has to surrender.  To come out from hiding.  To give it up.  Me has to embrace it’s cross.  Me has to die (no, not literally for  you Jim Jones fanatics out there). Then Christ can truly live.

So the problem with the Church isn’t really a problem with the Church.  It’s a problem with Me.

Thankfully, a problem Jesus came to solve. If Me will just let Him.