I have been a little slow in writing much these last couple of weeks. I find myself in the midst of some major transitions: 1) all of the schools within the ministry I pastor have almost all returned, so we have been gearing up for that by training new leaders, organizing our Wednesday nights, etc. 2) I just started graduate school up again; a new program with new things to read and study, so I have been working away at that 3) I have just found myself in a period here, with little to say (big surprise, I know), and a lot of time thinking, reflecting, and wondering about other things.
In all of this, I have been reading as I mentioned in the previous post, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology, by Eugene Peterson. And this book is challenging me like no other book I have read. Great stuff.
This excerpt has given me pause, as well, on the significance of the Church in our culture. It’s an especially important question that I have been wondering about, given our proximity to Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and more. Peterson says this:
“It gives us pause. If we, as the continuing company of Jesus, seem to have achieved an easy accomodation with our society and culture, how did we pull off what Jesus and the community of Jesus failed to accomplish? How has it come to pass that after twenty centuries of rejection, North American Christians assume that acclaim by numbers is a certificate of divine approval?
The significance of the church has never been in King Number. Its message has seldom (hardly even, in fact) been embraced by the mighty and powerful. Strategies are introduced from time to time to target ‘important’ leaders, men and women in high places in government, business, or the media, for conversion. It is not a practice backed by biblical precedent. There are, of course, Christians in high places politically and prominent in the celebrity pantheon, but their position and standing doesn’t seem to mean anything strategically significant in terms of God’s kingdom. To suppose that if we can just ‘place’ Christian men and women in high prominent positions of leadership, we are going to improve the efficacy of the community in its worship, missions, or evangelism, has no warrant in Scripture or history.” (pp. 288-289)
Wow! Convicting. Especially in our Church culture that worships celebrity, and often caters to them. Why do we thing that celebrity, or status in the world, will somehow validate the ministry that we are about? That it will validate our church? Our worship? Etc.
Maybe not everyone struggles with this, but it is something that I have been grappling with, and am seeing in my own experience.