Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Busy couple of days since I got back. Life here is hectic, we are now getting between 10 -20 people dropping in to use the internet 6 days a week, quite a few have also entered the prayer room. The Van is going great, we are picking up about 6 - 8 people a night. Tracy and Ben picked up some guys the other night who were hammered, and then the following night the same guys stopped them in the street and they chatted for hours about God. The good deeds tend to lead to loads of great conversations. Tracy hasn't got in till 6 in the morning for the last 2 days.

We also have Alain Emerson out with us for a week, which is excellent, it's good to have him here again, it gives him a chance to catch his breath from the pain that he is still working through at home. Obviously the pain still comes here with him.

Been chatting with Alain about consumerism and how it has crept (or should I say totally invaded)into church. I was swimming yesterday and just had a simple thought, "When it comes to experiencing true community it has to be about what we put in, not what we get out" What we get out of community is a by product, a guaranteed by product, but getting something out should never be our primary concern. Consumerism starts the moment someone says "My needs aren't being met" and even manifests itself in statements like "I didn't get much out of the worship this morning" if I hear this statement I want to shout "Good we weren't worshiping you!"

I read this articletoday "choosing a church today isn’t merely about finding a community to learn and live out the Christian faith. It’s about “church shopping” to find the congregation that best expresses my identity. This drives Christian leaders to differentiate their church by providing more of the features and services people want. After all, in a consumer culture the customer, not Christ, is king."

I want to think more on this......


Mel Reynolds said...

I agree. It's something I've been thinking about lately too. There should be a certain amount of sacrificial humility involved to belong to a community. Even if you are in the right place, you aren't always going to 'enjoy it' or find it comfortable, and within that discomfort, we are sharpened and often more alert to God's spirit (hopefully) as we work out how we can worship God more with our lives together.

Someone once told me about this term of being 'loyal radicals', and when I feel like packing the whole corporate-church-programmes-bullcrap-sunday-programmes-didimentionprogrammes stuff in, it keeps me going to think I could be one. I guess it's about staying in your church communities, even if it sucks at times because you have to be there to be the voice that says it's not about our needs, it's about being together, worshipping God together, and pointing God out in the everyday together. It takes humility to do that. I sometimes get so wound up that I wonder if I have it in me!

I feel a strong discomfort when I feel like God is being packaged like a product that we should buy into. I feel uneasy when pastors/speakers act like salesmen, trying to pitch me Jesus like he's a bottle of never before seen windscreen wiper fluid. It cheapens things. Takes away the richness in it all.

I don't think the message of Jesus and his way of doing things is something that needs selling. I reckon, if done right, it speaks for itself.

Give Al a big man hug from Dave and I. We love him.

Anonymous said...

arrgh, don't even get me started on this, just reading George Barna's book , called revolution...the whole consumer, "pander to my needs, feed me" thing is nuts, John Wimber used to say.."the meat is on the street", by this he was meaning that we get fed by christ by being christ to others...not by being spoon fed in our little christian ghetto's....yes write more, want to know what you think.