Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Double Edge Sword of Cultural christianity

This is an email I recently sent to the leader of my small group at The Church at Brook Hills.
Exodus is quickly becoming my favorite book in the Bible (As will the next book that we study.) Thank you for leading us bro.

This book(Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community) has remained in my mind over the last month or so to propose to you and see what you think. And according to your thoughts and feelings we could then speak to the group about it or not.

The book's title tries to capture its message. "Total Church" tries to relay the message that the church is not something we do on Sunday morning or Tuesday evening. It is a group of people who are always the Church. Every aspect of life is an instrument to glorify God as His Church. Everything we are apart of, work, relationships (secular and Christian), recreation, hobbies, meals, exercise, etc. is all ministry, it is all outreach, it is all worship, it is all disciple making, it is all affected, transformed, redeemed by who we are as the Church. I think these authors' attempt to direct God's people into this kind of community could be helpful for us.

As recently as yesterday I was speaking with one of the guys in our group. He had said some very encouraging words to me, and I tried to encourage him back by saying, "Thank you for your words. Your ministry encourages me so much. Thank you for your faithfulness." He then asked me, "What ministry?" I replied back, "Your ministry. Your ministry encourages me." He still sounded somewhat dumbfounded. And I gave him some shpeal about how we are all ministers of the gospel bla bla bla you know how that goes. Then he said, "Well, it is nothing I would put on a resume."

I have to admit I was shocked and deeply saddened he would say that. However, here is the truth. I struggle with this, too. I have this mindset in me, too. Sunday worship is sacred. Tuesday night meeting is sacred. Saturday with Family Connection(a government run shelter we spend time at with teens) is sacred. Monday - Friday, 8:00AM - 5:00PM is secular. My spare time, secular. Our cultural christianity doesn't just produce nominal christians. It also plagues the real deal with this mindset that real ministry is not ministry unless it is vocational. It is not ministry unless we are all wearing t-shirts or name tags representing our Ministry.

So, let's pray and fast and cry out for the Spirit of God to help us. And then let's think about this book. Let me know.

[Some info on Total Church] (This link has all the audio from a conference they did on the book.) (This is a link to buy the book from Crossway. Very expensive at 16.99. I think we can get it cheaper, but you can look at this link to get info about the book.) (This has three customer reviews to read, and the price is much cheaper 10.87)

1 comment:

"the engineer" said...

when you write about this charles thomas is brings me back to Matthew 14:16.

Jesus says, "14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

And when you think about the imagery of a light you must understand that a light is in fact visible to people around them--always. Even during the day time lights are seen. Granted they are easily noticed at night, but that doesn't take away the fact that they are still shining during the day.

as you say though i think it is very hard to incorporate Spirituality into the corporate working world. we see it as "inappropriate" to talk about religion and politics for some reason.

i believe there are more people around you everyday that don't believe in God than you realize. i think there are several people we encounter at work and free time that see Christianity as something that is decided when you are five then you put it on a shelf til you die.