Well here I sit, in Edmond, Oklahoma, typing away on the keyboard as my wife, glaring at me, folds laundry. I tell her that if I folded laundry there would be nothing for her to do, as I do everything else. This conversation never seems to go very well. She just doesn’t listen.
What is the difference between accountability and bomb dropping? I don’t know, I’m American…oops, sorry about that one, it just sort of slipped out, but that brings me to the point of this post It has never been my desire to bash for bashing’s sake. As I type away, sometimes very passionately, my hope is that this church I was born into will see the flares and at least consider changing lanes if not getting out of the car to help. It is never my desire to bash, but it is my desire to wake up a sleeping church. I suppose some people sleep harder than others and so, sometimes, a good shaking seems appropriate. But, and let me be very clear about this, I don’t in any way think I’ve got it all figured out. The only thing I know for sure is that people are in need of the gospel yet few seem very impressed with the way we’ve packaged it. As someone once said, the gospel is a diamond rolling down a dung heap. Every few hundred years, it’s important to chip away at the dung so that we can get back to the diamond. So as I vent my frustrations on this blog, please know that I am the KING of generalizations (see). I take what I’ve seen, and what I’ve experienced, and assume a lot. Sometimes I think my generalizations are pretty close to the truth. After all, despite a few NBA players here and there, most white man CAN’T jump. But I also recognize that a few can and are jumping and sometimes I forget that it’s more motivating to see the ones who can than the ones who can’t.
So with that in mind, and with Christmas just around the corner, let me share something that I have become more and more thankful for over the past couple of weeks. My home church in London. It’s actually located in Wood Green, to be more specific, and it’s a Salvation Army church.
My church is far from perfect, and sometimes it feels like they enjoy thinking about doing stuff so much that it takes them forever to actually get around to doing it. But it’s also desperately trying to become a church that Jesus would be proud of. For one thing, it’s unbelievably diverse. No token cultures here. More than thirty different countries (let alone cultures) are represented at our church, from Asia and Africa, to the Middle East and Europe, and even as far away as North and South America. My cell group alone has five different countries represented in it. And the worship is a great mixture of both old and new songs, both relevant through the way they are led. And, best of all, they seem to have a conscience. It isn’t rare to hear a sermon, on a Sunday morning, about fair trade and the need to check clothing tags before we buy. Mission projects are presented on a regular basis and even now they’re trying to raise money for a great new project in Haiti. Last Christmas I shared with my cell group that we had a family at our project that could use some help with Christmas. In one night the people in my small group gave over $300 to help provide Christmas for a single mother and her son.
After growing up in church and then getting an honest look at a lost world that wasn’t being reached, it’s doubtful that I’ll ever be content with the way the church does business. But I think it’s important to point out when Christians and churches are truly stepping up. And ours is sure trying.
Wood Green, we miss you guys.
And now, for all of you in Edmond and Virginia (and others that I don’t know about) who read this thing and never comment, now would be a great time to share your own stories of a church or even a believer who is truly missional in their approach to life. Phil, even you’re welcome to comment! : )
And, if I don’t get in a post before the 25th, have a very Merry Christmas. Oh, and if you’re still worried about “re-claiming the holiday season for Jesus”, start by taking down all those Santa decorations you’ve got hanging around your house!
Oops. There I go again…: )