A Tribute to Dottie Olson (1935–2018)

My wife’s grandmother, Dottie Olson, passed away a little over a week ago. Before she died, she requested that I perform her funeral service. Unfortunately, I contracted a severe illness and was unable to travel to conduct the funeral. To make up for it, I wrote a tribute in her honor. Below is a manuscript of my tribute to Dottie Olson. My wife’s cousin read it at the funeral in my stead.

Dear Family and Friends,

I, Matthew Emadi, am deeply saddened that I could not be here today in person. I would have considered it an honor and a privilege to participate in the funeral for Dottie Olson. When I finally accepted the fact that I was too sick to travel, I became haunted by one of my childhood memories. It was June 11, 1997. I was 13 years old as I watched flu-ridden Michael Jordan score 38 points in game 5 of the NBA finals leading the Bulls to victory over my beloved Utah Jazz. How come he was able to rise to the occasion and score 38 points in an NBA finals game, and I can’t even get out bed to get on a plane to travel across the country? I guess that is why he is considered so great. Continue reading “A Tribute to Dottie Olson (1935–2018)”

Is Church Membership Necessary for the Christian Life?

I find myself in more and more conversations with people who profess to be Christians and yet do not belong to Christian churches. They will usually reason something like this: “I am a member of the kingdom, but I will never belong to a church.” Or this one: “I worship God everyday. I don’t need to be a part of a church. I have fellowship with my Christian friends.” Of course I am not surprised by such statements. They are becoming more common in an anti-institutional, anti-authority loving culture. Yet some anti-church membership sentiments stem from the pain of being hurt by carnal church leaders or from belonging to false authoritarian churches or simply from never having belonged to a healthy church to begin with. Others have come to believe that the whole enterprise of “church” is corrupt so they avoid it altogether. This problem is compounded by the fact that many churches in modern-day America do not practice church membership. These churches have no clear accountability structure. People can come and go as they please, no questions asked. The membership-less church is a kind of event that happens each week at a certain location. People show up but with no sense of corporate identity regarding who they are and who they are not. I do not say that as a critique at this point; it simply is what it is. Continue reading “Is Church Membership Necessary for the Christian Life?”