Friday, December 23, 2005

for the most part...

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…: )

Comments on "for the most part..."


Blogger Gordon said ... (10:01 AM) : 

yeah - happy holidays !! Have a great christmas.


Blogger Larry said ... (2:28 PM) : 


Thanks for the post. You have a sensitive heart and we love you for that.

I will drop an email later. I also want to wake up a sleeping church. How we do that may take many graceful methods.

Now at Christmas, I am reminded that we do need a wake up call.

Merry Christmas.


Blogger surrendered said ... (2:45 PM) : 

nail on the head, my friend. nail on the head.


Blogger tarisayl said ... (3:39 PM) : 

I am so glad you made the "generalizations" comment. I was beginning to think you were lumping people together who didn't deserve to be. And, you also can't judge a church (even your old one) by one visit. There are some truths to what you've mentioned. I will admit that much. But, you can't possibly see, in one visit, the things that happen in a church. I will stop now because I left my soapbox at home today and don't feel like requesting a loaner at this time.

I like reading your blogs even though I disagree at times. But, how boring would the world be if we all agreed about everything? I hope y'all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

BTW, I don't have a Santa up anywhere at my house.

Sorry. One more thing. Preposition: a function word that typically combines with a noun phrase to form a phrase which usually expresses a modification or predication. I know that helped a lot. :-D


Blogger anniebuck2 said ... (3:05 AM) : 

I don't comment often but your blog generally gets me thinking. Lately your posts about politics have sparked my interest. I've never been into government or politics for that matter. But it is important for me to figure out where I stand in the political arena. Your posts have been helpful in my sorting some of that out.

You asked about church experiences. I know that you know some of my story with the church. If you recall I grew up Presbyterian and actually became a member of a Presbyterian church. I liked it a bit...but it ended up not being for me. I got tired of lies from the pastor and watching people gossip about my family right in front of me. And I had a Sunday School teacher who thought Touched by an Angel was a bad show b/c it talked to much about God and not enough about Jesus. The youth group was starting to take off at the church though and that kept me from seriously leaving. Until...the Salvation Army found me. It fit. So my mom and I had some loud conversations but the result was that she was going to let me go to another church. And I started regularly attending the Rochester Corps. I eventually became a member...right before my first summer at camp. I didn't do much praying about church switching. I made a pros and cons list. Granted I am no where near like I was when I was 14/15. But I knew it was the right decision then I firmly believe it's still where I'm supposed to be. I'm being shady on the details but God has chosen to reveal some things to me that involve the Salvation Army and my future. Both of my church experiences have shaped me. With the Salvation Army I learned that I have a love of dance and people. With my old church NSPC...I maintained contact through the growing youth group. I even became the first student youth leader something which has blossomed and grown since I left for college. That church helped me see that I'm great with teens. God also uses me to minister through dance and I've spoken a few times there too.

I'm not too sure I answered what you were looking for. Well have a Merry Christmas Tim!

P.S. Have any information on discernment?


Blogger Bill said ... (8:29 PM) : 

Church experiences:
I've had many good and bad. charismatic, penticostal, presbyterian, baptist, Eastern Orthodox, and a bit of my others. For 10 years various Army churches have been where I attended. Two have been home. One in denver it is closed now, it kept me in the Army, if I had walked into the citadel I would have left never to return in 96. Too many uniforms. (I still don't like them). The Lighthouse (aka Harborlight) is home. My wife and I are the only normies leading a recovery congregation on skid row in downtown. In a place of death and hell itself. Here we find hope, here we find changed lives, here we find God at work in peoples lives. Most other churches it wasc simply a social club. Very little change taking place. But I think why it feels like home is because we are one peice. The leaders in our congregation are sponsers inb various fellowships. The fellowships work with us and we with them. The program helps many people in thier recovery. But mostly, its home because this is the first church I have ever been in where change happens. And change is the essence of conversion.


Blogger Jon said ... (8:39 PM) : 

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Blogger Cari said ... (4:01 AM) : 

For the major part of it, I've got to say I like where our church is going, and how it's becoming a mission minded church. One of our own had to die in Ecuador for us to see the passion of missions. As his daughter carries his torch, our church has been visiting Ecuador, Nicaragua, Mexico, and many US states. We've built churches, bought uniforms for kids who aren't allowed to attend school without them, and have carried medicine and set up free clinics. Locally, we have a financially diverse group of people in our church. We have multi-millionaires (one of the godliest men I know) and we have single moms with an economy apartment full of kids. We bought school supplies for about 2/3 of a local public school in desperate need. Some of the people there even spoke English. I attend a class with women who have been abused and find hope at our church. While our music isn't cutting edge, it's become a true time of honest praise for me. I'm getting to where I like some new stuff (that song you have on here-one of my faves but I don't know the title!) but I try to teach my kids that worship doesn't depend on the kind of music, but the honest tune of our hearts. (If they "can't worship because the songs are too old-last year-they are wrapped up in entertainment...) anyway, yes, there are traditional churches who are mission minded. There are many who are way off the mark. But I think you're treading in dangerous waters when you flame them all, generally. I know! I feel your frustration! We have to quit playing church! We need to Dr Phil our churches...they need to get real. They need to "Come back to the heart of worship." I'd like to see some drug and alcohol support in our church. I'd like to see divorce care, and someone on staff to deal with the shocking abuse we see day to day.
So I'm working on it. I'm praying about it. I'm wondering where I'm going to go and when the time is going to come that I have to, and hoping I won't be so arrogant and wrapped up in myself as to pass up the moment of a lifetime. Anyway, love you. Love Christmas. Love God. Hate my job. (I'm grieving. It's a process.)


Blogger Mhairi said ... (12:33 AM) : 

I almost want to yell "No more lip service!"

I come from a church filled with good intentions, yet we don't always manage to get around to them. Almost feel like we are dreaming the dreams, yet the following through is a slow process that we are not so grand at. Is it that we have caught a vision of what God wishes for us, and He is looking for our obedience to fulfill them all, or I am just trying to redeem our short comings? In HIS time He makes all thing beautiful, sometimes I have to relax in that thought, knowing that He has all of my life, and therefore all the time He wants. Kinda good that it's His call, He's way more faithful.

Thanks for the thinking, kept my mind churning this evening.

Under the b&f


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