Man, am I square.
Pasty white, overweight, Bible-belt buckle born and stuck in the NIV. I’ve survived the worship wars simply to get caught up in the energy of keeping everything running smoothly each week. I generally don’t say what’s on my mind; it has always been easier for me to listen to others and agree out loud or disagree in silence. I’m simply another cog in the machine.
I’m not hip like a lot of guys whose blogs I read. Not skinny, not bald, no ink. Some of their questions, positions on culture, worship, and what Jesus would do make me uncomfortable. But I will tell you what I admire- men and women who are courageous enough to voice their opinions, their concerns, their beliefs without fear of having to measure up to another human being-type person. Guys and girls willing to sacrifice their careers to plant a church in a bar in the wrong side of town. Men and women who are not ashamed to be bold and creative in the planning of worship or service or budgets.
I am bothered by our roles as a cog in the church machine to excuse or justify our lack of creativity, our lack of cultural confrontation, our failure to risk for Christ.
Please don’t misunderstand- I am a huge fan of the local church and am convinced the local church is God’s organization for impacting and changing the world. What I am weary from is that most of us in the local churches are satisfied to continue to perpetuate ourselves, to continue to generate what we need so we can get what we want out of church.
What I want to do is to change the world.
I am thinking and praying through Matthew 5:38-48 where Jesus is teaching about loving our enemies. I can’t say that I really have any enemies. I’m a quiet, likable guy, non-confrontational, I know my place in the church and community. Maybe that is my problem. I haven’t been lovingly outspoken enough in my faith to find challenge in the culture at all. I haven’t made friends of non-believers who force me to exercise my faith and my ministry. I don’t risk… well… anything, really. The culture in which I work, live, and my family lives is safe.
I have a Pastor friend who is not afraid of challenging the machine, the status quo, the self-perpetuating ideas that have served small churches so well for generations. However, all is not as it seems. Once, in a conversation, he told me that it would really be nice, for a change, to be persecuted for Christ by someone other than the church.
I think it would be a good start if some of us were just active and vocal enough to generate just a conversation in the church. Consider Matthew 5:44 where Jesus says to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I bet if we decided to invest our money, time, and resources on folks who were not like us, did not like us, and disagreed with our politics and our faith- and we did it in genuine love and compassion- and we did it consistently, and we did it globally, and we did it for the cause of Christ-
Then, maybe, we would begin to change the world. In the process, we might upset the balance of the machine, and pasty white folks like me would get uncomfortable.
Maybe I’d lose a little of my squareness.
I believe God would be pleased.