Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hot Topic Post

I havent blogged in awhile- I apologize. Last night Steph put up a great question on the Almighty Facebook- here's the post:

"My boss and one of my old workmates were chatting in the store today and their conversation brought up a thing to ponder. They were talking about how christian conferences and and churchy events (like sunday school) dont have the attendance that they used to like in the 90s. My response was that because people in my circles these days dont have jobs that allow them to go. Because there arent enough jobs, people are forced to work low level jobs that usually high schoolers take, with little advancement, for years. Most of my friends and acquaintances do not have the same schedule week to week. So, my question is, how does the church minister to people that CANT show up? How can we teach people the ways of God? How does the church reach people that dont have weekends or weekdays, consistent meal times, or days off? How do you have healthy families when parents work like that? How can we function as a society in such irregularity? What do we do about it?"
Feel free to shoot your thoughts out on it- here's some of mine...
Western culture's ultimate cornerstone is the Bible. It governed our lives and shaped our imaginations- it guides our morals and holds us accountable with Higher ethics- it propelled our art and invented our notions of human rights. Christianity governed our week with the captain's wheel of Sunday mornings. But as Church quit keeping up with the fuel requirements for our cultural engines we found ourselves on the out and out. Maybe we need to be Culture again. Maybe we need to let Jesus be who he is... forget about being cool- 'cool' is just how far you have to fall, anyways- 
Last week I led an unofficial Bible-study with a welder who is actually trained to be an electrician, who just had a beautiful baby with a co-worker at a local gas station; a just turned-21-year-old who's been drinking for some time, with rough family problems and just met Jesus a few months ago after reading Job (of all books); and his friend who is a younger version of him (still praying he'll meet God); an under-employed bookstore worker with a Bachelor's in English literature and Mass communications Bachelor dually employed at selling cigarettes to the addicted, alcohol to the inebriated, and porn to the chronically lonely matched with preaching the Gospel on Sundays to a little country church.
 We are reading Acts right now. I am fairly confident my electrician friend has never read it because he's never been exposed. His girlfriend who works me is marginally Catholic, and hasnt read it, either. My Job-reading protege literally just picked up the Bible about 3 months ago and is still enraptured with the Old Testament stories (still working on the New Testament, but im pretty sure he's read John and Romans once...), and his younger friend who seems to have some general understanding of the topic...
We work crazy hours at the gas station- over-night shifts fusing melting metal- share cars for daily-altered 8 hour shifts- drink, smoke, have kids barely out of being kids ourselves- have little or no role-models- usually navigating fractured relationships with abusive or simply non-existent parents. 
 Do you get the idea?
 We are BROKEN people. We are an ENTIRE NATION of horribly BROKEN people. 
We dont waste our breaths on the cliche- we arent sure if we even have souls- we work till a random day off and then try and tiredly piece together everything else before crashing or partying.
We are dirt poor- spiritually bankrupt- over-worked, under-payed, constantly being forced to choose between paying off seemingly worthless college loans for ramen noodles and mac'n cheese we'll probably end up re-heating at our 7th day straight at work...
And we are all reading Acts together.
Just for fun, pick a person I just described and try and enter from their point of view.
We are reading Acts together.
As I read the familiar text- reading about the crazy, unbelievable things the Trinity did way back then- I find myself worrying about how these people around this table are taking this all in. These are people who are children of the great Mundane. Who's craziest thing that ever happened to them is how drunk they got last Friday- car-wrecks and dude-did-I-Just-See-A-Ghost(?) stories. I have all the cutting edge knowledge of 25 years of personal encounters, flannel-board Sunday schools, Christian camps, Christian colleges, Christian radio and Christian music.
How do I use any of this now??
If you're tired or re-active of my obvious angst- maybe even if you find yourself joining in a little- here's what I think: forget all the Christian culture- forget the flash-card altar-calls and cued worship times- 
Follow Jesus. 
Follow God. 
It's easy when faced with extreme diversity and hardship to hoodwink ourselves into silence. Faithfully be Jesus, as best as you can and are enabled to be- wherever you find yourself these days. Strive to naturally have whole, healthy, REAL relationships with others. God is with you. Rely on Jesus' real power to change lives. He is in charge of introducing himself. When He comes, he is the real thing- and thus very convincing and undeniable. Truth is like that. It's not systematic theology- its The Way, in all it's sometimes confusing, transcendently redeeming glory.
Things are hard and unreliable. Because they are we must find ways to adapt through being a shining pace-setter of culture through local churches and ready for being Jesus through authentic relationships with others whenever and wherever. We will find new direction and purpose because Jesus is the ultimate-trendsetter.   

Like what you read? Join in with your own insights, stories and art- send them to Thanks and God bless -Ryan

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