Tuesday, May 07, 2013

An extract from Sunday's notes

Here's an extract from my notes from Sunday. There are some qualifications needed, but I simply present it here to try and spark some thinking for you. 
The world is not the enemy, and it’s not the fault of the world that it finds itself as it is. Let me explain. 
Darkness is by its very nature dark. The problem is not the darkness, but the lack of light. When light shines, darkness disappears. Darkness does not overcome light, but where there is no light, darkness will rule.
Field of dreams: We all seem to buy into the principle of Kevin Costner’s character in the film. The famous line from the film: "If you build it they will come”, has become the subconscious mantra of the evangelical movement.
But the truth is they won’t come. At least not in the numbers we think. Church works for church people. Bigger and better won’t change that. 
Our structures also bear little relevance to the world beyond the bricks and mortar. I have a Masters degree in theology. If I wanted to teach in a theological college I've been told I would need a doctorate or at the very least a published book! But neither of these qualifies me for anything in the wider world. Outside of the church these degrees and diplomas mean nothing. They means very little to very few people.
What does matter is that I'm there when a member of the family passes away. What might matter is that I'm there to cheer them on when everyone else has given up on them. What could matter is someone being available when they need friendship. And you don't have to be a well-trained, over qualified minister or pastor to do that!
Perhaps the gospel looks like the community we say it is but often fail to live out in any real sense. Like everyone else we've become too busy in our individual world to be connected to anything beyond ourselves. 
When we look in the mirror we see and army of ordinary people totally committed to Christ and the cause of Christ, declaring the gospel of God with a passion, against a backdrop of hostility and apathy from a world spiralling away from God. What the world sees is a group of out of touch, bible bashing, hymn singing, moralising hypocrites that are more concerned about who uses the car park than how to love their neighbour. 
Something has to change. 

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