In the previous post I ended by asking the question, “How did we miss the mark?” A simplistic answer would be, “Well, we do what we United Methodists know best – build something!” Herein lies the conundrum; we are more adept at going into the world and perpetuating the false materialistic values of our Western culture utilizing our well-honed construction techniques than engaging authentic ministry that affects the quality of life issues of those mired in generational poverty. So what do we do about it? We keep on doing what we know to do best – build.
Clearly, this is no longer a valid solution to the needs of the world (if it ever was) to be undertaken by the church. Don’t get me wrong – I love to build things. But I am coming to see the real danger associated by well-meaning and well executed undertakings of the church that fail because nobody adequately discerned if this was God’s will for we should be doing in His name.
Likewise, I question whether there was adequate discernment when the decision was made a few years ago to use walk-on football as a vehicle to boost enrollment at
. The resultant explosion of
the student population generated a scramble for acquisition of near-campus
housing, precipitating an even greater debt service for the already strapped institution.
It was the impending foreclosure of this same housing which triggered the
decision to file for bankruptcy earlier this week. Clearly, more (buildings and
associated debt service) is not better, but that’s what we continue to pursue
in the name of doing mission and ministry. Lon Morris
One definition for insanity is the continuation of doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a change in results. One thing that is not changing; we’re still closing churches. So my question is, when will the madness end? When will we turn from the ways of this world, seeking to apply secular solutions to spiritual and social justice issues? When will we begin seeking God’s before we go out in mission and ministry instead of simply walking in the natural and materialistic ways of man?
Just as Jesus set the world on its ear with his counter-cultural teachings and ministry so too the church is called to stand apart from the ways of the world and follow in his footsteps. By acquiescing to the value system our dominant culture and its materialism there is little remaining to distinguish the church from that culture. There are a growing number those who are looking for an alternative to the disappointments they’ve discovered in the empty value system of our Western culture and are now seeking a spiritual experience. In the meantime, we’re still closing churches…
There is an incredible irony found in the Gospels: Jesus was a carpenter who built things with his hands. But in searching through the New Testament I have yet to find where he actually built anything here on earth except for the beginnings of the church. This was a church without buildings made entirely of people. And in everything he did he first discerned the will of the Father. This is the model he left for the church. To deviate from it is not just unchristian, but madness.