The Western Church

For too long I have swallowed a lie. The edges of the lie occasionally made me uncomfortable but by-and-large it has gone down with my consent.

Like Neo taking the red pill in The Matrix, I’m beginning to wake up.

The lie is this: the church must present itself in a certain way in order to attract people. It must have an attractive building, easy parking and worship times should be convenient. As Westerners we have come to expect a certain level of comfort… how could we possibly convince people to come unless they are going to be comfortable and have a great experience?

The statement has a ring of truth to it; all good lies do. To attract a certain type of person it is true. Fortunately, however, Jesus covers off on this in Luke 14:16-23:

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

people-1550501_960_720Jesus makes it clear – if those we invite are too distracted by the world, then we should instead go to those who will be interested in the invitation. The widow and the orphan, the homeless – all those seeking God and His love aren’t picky about the building’s décor. Did we really think our flashy building could add anything to the draw-card of the Father’s love?

It does make it harder to reach people, because of the likely sacrifice it will cost us. We’ll have to turn down the comfort-controls a notch or three. It may be harder for us to relate to the less fortunate. We might actually start learning what it is to carry a cross…

The whole idea is counter-cultural, but that’s exactly what Jesus was.

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Random Thoughts

Editing Progress

editing progress

Here is my editing progress after the first chapter (+ prologue). The red line is the target and the green line is the actual.

I started with 3,500 words and have cut it down to just under 3,000 (15% reduction). I expect to re-write scene 2 of the prologue though so expect that to inflate; but so far so good.

I am trying to be brutal with my editing: deleting anything which does not progress the plot.

“They may offer to bring down the moon; it’s what they can deliver that is the salient point.” (deleted dialogue)

Unity in the Church

I am so grateful that in a time in our country where we’ve got more tension than we’ve had since the 1960s, I can come to a place like Life Church and I’m surrounded by people from varying backgrounds and different races and black worshiping next to white, worshiping next to Hispanic, and Mexican and native American and every other culture that is connected and the only colour that matters is red and it’s the blood of Jesus.

From LifeChurch, Going the Distance (week 1). John Gray