Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sick of the Rhetoric

At times I feel torn between two worlds. I have touched a little on this in past posts (you can go digging if you want), but in reality this - the "thing" I will go on to write a little more about in a minute - really grabs me and throws me around at times. It leaves me feeling sick in my stomach, it makes me feel useless and helpless and makes me angry.

I hear the guys who say "all you fellas do is bitch about the church, you're all talk but never any action", and I agree - it's so easy to just bag while doing nothing, but hear me out - this isn't what I'm about. At the end of the day though, I am gutless. Instead of sitting here in the safety of my own home and punching words into a blog interface, I should be out there confronting the source of my feelings - but to be perfectly honest, I have tried and I don't know what more to do, other than to get ugly and aggressive.

A 15 year old client in the drug program I run was telling me a horrific story the other day. He told how he was left to cut the body of a friend down from the rafters of a backyard shed. The kid had hung himself while his mates partied just metres away.

As I heard this story and then heard how this brave young man was (or really wasn't) dealing with it, it was all I could do to stop myself from breaking down. And this young blokes story isn't an isolated case. I deal with similar stories, similar lives, on an almost daily basis.

But that isn't what gets me angry. What gets me angry is the crap I hear from the local super-pastors. Its the crap that makes it look and sound as though their models of attractional, "build it and they will come" Christian mediocrity (flashy yes, but like the proverbial "tits on a bull" pretty useless when it comes to the real kingdom work) are actually doing something to change their community.

To make it better.

To make all the non-Christians leave there grotty, stinking little lives behind and come and join the enlightened on a Sunday morning.

To raise their hands and rock out to Hillsong beats, and put on masks of perfections.

But it isn't really happening! You - the ones who propagate this rubbish - open your eyes, wake up and smell the coffee - you are doing very little other than entertaining Christians and building your empires.

The non-believers aren't coming.

They are too busy recovering from the party the night before.

Or coming down from a three day drug binge.

Or from having to cut down a dead, 17 year old mate from the rafters of the shed.

Or, on the other hand, they are just too comfortable in their own lives to give a shit about the local mega-church's Sunday morning service.

They are not, as one super-pastor said in my presence a couple of months back, going to see all that you have to offer and have no other choice but to take notice and come join you on Sunday, because, in reality, THEY REALLY JUST DON"T CARE ABOUT YOU!

In a town of around 50,000 there is so much the self-proclaimed Jesus followers could really be doing. They could seriously change the landscape of this town in a major way, if only they would pull their heads out of their own backsides, stop promoting themselves and their Sunday service first, and start putting Jesus Christ in the number one position in their lives.

Do you get that?

Your "church" doesn't matter.

Your music, the sound system you use, the lighting rig and stage set-up are meaningless, if you are not "being", "living", imitating Christ in your community. And, YOU'RE NOT!

I know without a doubt that many of the young people I work with would jump at the chance to have a place to belong, and many of them are already interested in Jesus. Then there's their families, and their friends.

But how do we do it? I am committed (and I believe called) to another community - the one in which I live, which has its own challenges and frustrations and so am not sure where to go with these "waifs and strays" in Bunbury, and I certainly can't do it on my own. But most of those I speak too or encourage to think about the opportunities, are unable to divorce it from the context of their own "church". It seems everything has to be "owned" in order to work! What a crock!

Seriously, if you are in the Bunbury region and read this and seriously do have a heart for those that Jesus loves who are not living the way the church says they should live, and you are not just about adding numbers to "your church", contact me! There is a whole, virtually untouched, mission field here in your own backyard.

If your not in Bunbury, please pray. Pray for these kids. Pray for their families. Pray for the church in this town.

Hopefully, this is a prayer that will be answered soon.

Well, I feel like the anger (hopefully righteous anger) is now starting to subside. I'm going to go and pray. Looking forward to hearing from you. Catch you 'round. Not sure when, but sometime soon I hope.


Jamie said...

Wow. You may have been angry, but what you say is true. Good post.


Shannon said...


Your anger is most reminiscent of Jesus' anger with the hypocrites of His day. I can't speak too freely as it relates to me for certain reasons but I 100% agree with you and if churches aren't being salt and light to their communities, why are they there? It's time to put up or shut up! Great post man!

Helen said...

Andrew, at the risk of commenting on something I know little about - what about going the route of setting up a ministry which is parachurch, that reaches out to the people with needs, that Christians from any church can get involved in?

I think these big churches may well have attenders who care, who would help with a ministry but they need someone to set it up.

If it was parachurch then you'd be free to invite people from any church to get involved. And maybe the leaders of the super-churches would let you share information about the ministry there, even if they aren't willing to run it themselves.

I say this because I've mostly attended big churches and what I've found at them is that a number of people who go to them, who aren't leaders in the church, are very involved in parachurch ministries or ministries run by people from other churches.

So whereas if you look at the list of ministries a church runs you might think "Hmmm...they don't care about the community", in fact they may have lots of members who care or who are ready to care if someone sets up a structure which helps them know how they can get involved.

When one route seems closed there is sometimes another way to accomplish the same thing - it's worth considering that, I'd suggest.

The Creature said...

Hey Shanon and Jamie - you guys were quick off the mark!

Helen, Thanks for the good advice! We actually kinda are a parachurch (I hate that word) and I have tried that and just about everything else I can think of to get the locals involved. Seems they are too wrapped up in themselves and their "churches" to be bothered with anything they can't "own".

Anyway - don't want to get started again! ;)

Helen said...

Hi Andrew, I'm sorry they aren't more willing to work with you.

Maybe it's just a matter of time. Moses and Joseph had to wait decades until they were able to do what they dreamed about. Maybe there are changes which will happen down the road, opening shared-ministry doors that are currently closed.

james said...

Man.. I wish I lived near you.. Unfortunately, I live in Atlanta, and there are no churches here doing anything (for the most part) but constructing buildings.

The Creature said...

Ever considered moving to Austalia James? ;)

But, I am sure there are plenty of opportunities to get "incarnational" in your area. Sorry to hear your local "churches" also have the apathy flu. It sucks!