Featured Blogger: Matt Appling!

I’m so grateful that Matt was willing to participate with me here at this blog.

I’ve been visiting and enjoying Matt’s increasingly popular blog, thchurchofnopeople.com for about 6 months. Last year he was awarded his Masters of Divinity at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is currently the lead teaching pastor of Levi’s House -Kansas City, MO, and is also the co-founder SaveAfrica.com (an organization that brings the gospel and builds schools in the Sudan.)

I sent Matt a few questions, to which he responded. I’ll share those, and what I came up with as my replies, as if to recreate that we were chatting fire side over some hot cocoa at a ski lodge. Try, if you will, to picture Matt in a white, cozy. cable knit sweater. 

(me) Wow! I love this fireplace. Anyways, let’s get started. So, Matt, what is your blog about and what drives you to do it? 

(Matt) My blog’s “official” description is that it contains all the sermons I would give if no one showed up to church. That is, when it comes to Christianity, ministry, politics, or life, I try to speak my mind in an unvarnished way. Most of the time, the topics of have been random, but all of a sudden, a bunch of similar topics began stacking up in my mind, thus January has become “Doubt Month,” and it’s been pretty amazing, if I do say so myself…mostly for the comments that have built the conversation. 

I started the blog because I was inspired by all the ‘big’ blogs I was discovering, and there’s nothing better than trying to stand toe-to-toe with your heroes. It would be better if I could try to do that and not fail, but since then, I’ve discovered that I’ll never stand toe-to-toe with them. But I have a modest audience who give great comments, and I’ve been at it for over a year now. That’s an addicting combination. 

It does seem like you take the gloves off sometimes, but it’s really refreshing and challenging. Writing like that, for all the world to see is a risk, for sure–much like that sweater you’re wearing. But it’s gutsy, and I appreciate that!

Do people misunderstand you, and your intentions? 

I think so. My wife says I’m an “acquired taste,” whatever that means. I think it means I’m an “onion,” with lots of “layers,” or some silly produce-related analogy like that. When it comes to blogging, people have certain expectations from Christians. Well, I’m not particularly theological. I’m not really flamboyant with my faith. And sarcasm seems to be Kryptonite to some really “nice” Christians. So people don’t know how to react to me…or I’m just really bad at blogging. 

So some guy new reader can’t get all the personal info he wants just by reading my blog, so he sends me an email asking what my “stance” is on the “millennium,” which seems about as out of place as asking what kind of underwear I prefer, and I didn’t even know I was required to be standing on it.

Sometimes when people say “acquired taste,” it’s sort of a nice way of saying, “hard to stomach.” (lol) I’ve noticed, as well, that some people/Christians ask those types of questions hoping to size others up to plop them in a category, maybe it’s “wicked or good,” or “of the devil or of God,” or doctrinally like them or wrong etc. (and their belief HAS to be the one that’s spot on, of course). It’s almost like they don’t know how to figure anything out, unless they figure you out first, and “discern you.” It’s funny to me, because if you know who God is, and are walking with him, the bulk of the rest of it falls into place. Those questions have (at least) a streak of fear in them I think.

What do you wish Christians would understand better? 

Lots of times, I’m writing about the ridiculous things we as Christians and people just accept at face value. That’s the problem with people I think. Lucky for me, it creates a lot of blog fodder. 

I guess that’s a good lead in to pop in your blog address again, here.

What ministry is closest to your heart? 

My house church. (www.levishousechurch.com) I guard it closely. It’s the best dang little group of people I’ve ever been a part of. We’re sending a missionary from our own little congregation all the way to Sudan next month to preach and find a site to build a school, designed and funded by us. (saveafrica.com) 

Most people would never give a house church a chance. I call it an experiment in doing more…with less. And it’s working. 

I just love hearing that. It’s great for people to remember that serving God as a church body, being missional, or being the hands and feet of Jesus does NOT take a big church budget, a large facility, or hefty church membership rolls.

I think Levi’s House is just ahead of the curve on this one. I’ll be checking in to see how you are doing things, and what you are doing over there, and I hope others will be inspired by your updates as well.

Well, this whole time, we’ve been awfully serious. I simply love your sense of humor. Your guest post on stuffchristianslike.net had me rolling on the floor laughing, (or for those readers only familiar with text-speak: ROTFL!) What I really want to know is, if you had the chance, what VeggieTales character would you be? 

That’s a tough one. Which one is the best arm wrestler…because that would not be me. Well, I guess none of them have arms. Wait, how do the vegetables do anything without hands? No, no, this can’t be right. Okay, I guess I’d be one of the Rapscallions. That’s a name that inspires fear and respect, right?

Matt, you are a man of many layers. This has been really nice. Thanks for participating! Now is your mug of cocoa ready for a refill? …


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