'Puzzle' is Well Made, but a Few Pieces are Missing

Based on the film Rompecabezas, Puzzle is one of those little-known independent films that sneaks into theaters with little to no fanfare, although the fact that it is being promoted “from the producer of Little Miss Sunshine” should help it get noticed somewhat. Puzzle is a quiet, little film about a woman who discovers that jigsaw puzzles are the key to changing her life. While the subject matter doesn’t sound all that exciting, the film really isn’t about puzzles but instead about one finding their voice, or so it appears. It’s also a message film that has its own agenda expecting the audience to agree with the choices of the main character and applaud her “brave” behavior. Frankly, it just feels manipulative.

Directed by Marc Turtletaub, Puzzle’s most impactful scene comes within the first few minutes. We see Agnes (Kelly MacDonald) cleaning up the house and they decorating it for a birthday party. Then we see her serving appetizers while being ignored by the guests. …

What is Your Church Doing RIGHT?

What is your church doing right?
Stuart Miles
It may be a sad commentary about the world we live in today, but I originally wrote this post back in 2015 and didn't receive a single response. Even after promoting it on Facebook all I got in return was the sound of crickets. I would love to know what good things your church is doing in hopes of inspiring others! 

I don't know about you, but lately I've been feeling bogged down by all the Facebook posts, Christian magazine articles and pastors spewing about how awful we all are. We all hold the ideal that church is supposed to be a place of fellowship and healing, and it is supposed to be, but often that is not the case. We have all been hurt or offended or neglected in our church homes at one time or another. Anyone who says differently is either lying or are just a new Christian. Many of us, myself included, love to point the finger at others. We are shocked and offended when others fall into sin but then expect love, grace and understanding when we do. The church is full of hypocrites – like me – who go to church in hopes of changing their behavior.

Like you, I could list a selection of past hurts that I've experienced with my church background and you could either agree with me and tell me that is why you don't go to church anymore or you could chastise me for being shallow. Either way, we lose. Maybe it's time to focus on the good instead of the bad?

Over my many years of church life I have experienced more good than bad and those are the things that I want to focus on:

  • Like the pastor I grew up with who went the extra mile to make summer camp fun, memorable and faith-challenging. 
  • Like the angry woman who came to our church and the women's ministry team rallied around her letting her vent her frustrations and loved her for who she was. Today she is a beautiful example of what a life can look like when changed by Christ.
  • Like the pastor who went out of his way to tell me that I was his friend, not just a face in the crowd.
  • Like my first Sunday when I was warmly greeted at the door and I knew that it was genuine, not just her “job.”
  • Like last Sunday when my pastor shared from his heart about a subject matter that most churches want to ignore choosing compassion instead of judgment.
So, now it's your turn. What are the things that your church is getting RIGHT? Make it known in the comments section below.


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