Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Like attracts Like

Good morning God,
I've been reflecting on the discussion at class meeting last night about the lack of social diversity in our Church. Like attracts like is the poor excuse that was made.

Like attracts like - but this begs the question - what are we like!
If we were more like YOU - what sort of people would we be attracting?
If I were more like you, what sort of people would I be engaging with?

If Jesus is our example then I very much doubt that they would all come from the same social or racial grouping. They would be drawn from all nations and all walks of life, some rich, some poor, male and female, young and old. Society would be at a loss to define them collectively except as 'Christians'. They would be a vibrant, dynamic group of people, unashamed about who they are, but not pushy about it. A group busily and determinedly engaging at all levels with their local community. They would be vocal in local politics, prepared to challenge hypocrisy and injustice wherever they found it and committed to supporting and upholding those customs and practices which built up the community before you God. They would be recognisable as a people who nurtured and cared for each other, but who also always made space for the stranger in their midst, welcoming them as lost sisters or brothers. Above all, they would be a people who stood side by side in worship and prayer, rejoicing in the fact that they are all equal before you God.

It's about priorities - and I suspect we may have ours the wrong way around.

As church we tend to be far more interested in the 'Sunday bit' and in maintaining our 'regular activities' than we are in proclaiming the gospel in word and deed. Our church may be a great place for lively and intelligent worship - but I am convinced that worship should happen as a joyous, glad response to gospel living, rather than as a replacement for living out the gospel.

So how to change it?
How to become more attractive to people like YOU God?

It's about priorities - and I suspect I may have had mine the wrong way around.

Will you help me God to find a way of helping the Church to turn the focus of what it does away from Sunday worship so that it can rediscover gospel living? Christ spent almost the entirety of his ministry teaching people how to LIVE not how to worship. He spoke so little of worship it wasn't until he was specifically asked that he taught the disciples how to pray. So it really isn't supposed to be all about the Sunday service; its about the Monday work load, Tuesday supermarket list, Wednesday court appeal, Thursday exam results, Friday hospital appointment, Saturday football game - it's about LIFE.

I am come says Christ - that you might have life - not a Sunday service - Life in all its fullness.

The only way I know how to do this is to be committed to living out the gospel and proclaiming it by word and deed day by day in the community and inviting others to do the same. This means continuing to gently but firmly refuse to be shackled to those church activities and routines which my predecessors may have instigated, which the Church may 'always have done this way', but which needlessly takes me and your people away from that key priority.

I believe that as a minister, you have called me God to be with all your people, those whom the Church knows by name, yes, but more so with those whose names they do not yet know - those who do not come to Church, are not 'members' or even adherents.. but who are still YOUR chosen people God.

Could it really be that simple, that when I/we are willing to spend more time with your chosen people I/we will begin to become more like you and your church will become more diverse as a community of faith?
Like attracts like after all.


  1. I have been challenged this week by a post from Bishop Willimon that is quotes from Shane Claiborne. This quote seems very relevant to your post:

    ""I asked participants who claimed to be 'strong followers of Jesus' whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question, I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor."

  2. Thanks Dave, I agree, the hard part however, is gently but effectively helping those who really do think that they are doing the 'right' thing by God with all their Church activities to realize that God really didn't come so that we could have a nice Church or a good meeting.. and that on a scale of 1 to 10 in the gospel value of things, most of what we currently do 'As Church' would probably score -5