September 8, 2006


Perhaps we should change all of our exit signs in our church buildings to enter signs. It is out there, "in the real world" as our parents like to say that life happens. I think the reason those signs were put up was because we were spending too much time inside and so we had to let everyone know where the exits were at. If we could just reverse that so that we are spending so much time "in the real world", among the poor, feeding the hungry, fixing our neighbors car because they can't afford it, befriending those whom the 'real world' shuns. Then maybe when we 'entered' or now 'exited' our faith would have meaning and wouldn't be just a 'burnt offering (Hosea 6:6).

Remember to Enter.


*Heathluvsing* said...

Great thoughts!

theRhonerponer ( said...

As both a pastor and as someone who has left the traditional pastorate to pursue church planting I would whole-heartedly agree with you.

While the church in ancient times was a cult that was in the wider culture and transformed said culture, today the church has become a cult that in many cases is far removed from culture. And as you said that withdrawn posture has resulted in the church's overall failture to transform the wider culture.

In failing to be God's revoluntionary agent in our world the church has, I believe, modeled a set of values that are very much different from our Lord Jesus Christ and His words that are so often recited in unison in churches across the land- "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN..."

Indeed, if these words which we tacitly recite would become ingrained in who we are and how we think (as individuals and as the Church) the world would look different.

Rather than a creating, publishing, and preaching neatly ordered treatises that are a hybrid of American idealism and Jesus' teaching the Church should shift its focus from being a self-help, capitalistic, pop-psychology, American institution to becoming the community of faith, hope, and love that God has created and called her to be. A community where faith, hope, and love result in the poor, the hungry. the ostrasized, and the lonely are, well, anything but poor, hungry, and lonely. A community where people are genuinely loved and appreciated for who they are and not what we can make them become.

Enough cookie-cutter Christianity! Enough Jesus- American, self-help, pop-psychobabble guru!

And more Jesus of Scripture! The Jesus who challenged the religious to take a long hard look at themselves. The Jesus who didn't make everyone cozy and comfortable. The Jesus who when followed rarely made life "easier" and "better," but rather oftentimes made it more diffiult yet paradocxically at the same time more purposeful and fulfilling.

Doulos said...

Man, all good thoughts and challenging. Thanks.

I'm looking for ways to do that here in Lima.

Kris Gowdy said...

Totally agree with you, Joshua! I have committed to spending at least half of my time out of the office and meetings with people and in particular those outside the church context.