Friday, September 19, 2008
On Thursday I went to a friend's property about 40 minutes from where I live. He grows macadamia nuts, pumpkins and water melon. My friend is in his early 70s and often invites me out to work with him on the farm and offer me mentoring and encouragement. In short, he is an absolute legend and a great man of God.
When we were up there this time I decided to take some photos. There is a part of the property that has been used for dirt bike riding and running old cars into the ground.
As I strolled around I came across the old wreck in the photo. I was careful looking inside because we had already found a venomous red belly black snake dozing under a log and the car seemed to be a perfect haven for reptiles until the weather warmed up some more.
I was looking around the farm and realized that instead of hunting for blog images online I could take my own (it's only taken me 4 years to figure this out). I was struck by the analogy that the car was once extremely useful and productive and possibly of great value to someone at one time but now it was rusted and abandoned and only good as a home for spiders and whatever else took a liking to the dingy, dirty interior.
When I read emerging church literature I am concerned that the institutional church is quite often depicted as the car in the photo. It was once productive and useful and was a great resource for many people but now it is a burnt out shell that can never be restored so why not build new streamlined churches complete with all of the trimmings to attract a postmodern culture.
I am aware that churches can hurt people; I know it first hand but that is no reason to stand on the sidelines and malign churches that have been and often still are in some shape or form a part of the Body of Christ on this earth. As I consider the nature of the missional faith community that is starting to become more than a dream I have been considering the faithful people across my city who seek, in various ways, big and small, to serve Christ.
Whatever I do I want to be another expression of church to a mission field that is largely untapped. I am not called to serve those who like a diet of hymns and sermons but I respect and honor those people. I am not called to the youth church scene of lights, bands and bright vibrant services but I will pray with them for the youth of our city.
When I find myself becoming proud that I am "out there doing evangelism" and I start to feel smug I consider the lives that have been profoundly touched and are still being touched in ways that sometimes only God knows. I could pull out a 101 critiques of the church but then again I can point out 101 critiques of my own world so I'd rather just put my hand to the plough and find the patch where God has called me to raise up harvesters.
By this will all men know that you are my disciples; that you love one another. How about we start loving each other today?