Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

21 April 2008

I wanna taste saltier

The Church Factory in it's status quo state simply does not churn out the kind of Christians that can truly influence this earth in their Christ-called role. Salty Christians.

Matthew 5:13-14

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.
Jesus

I want share a bit of a recent interview between Tony Campolo and Kara Powell who is the director of Youth Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary. It's context is the unbalanced nationalistic leanings of the American Church... but listen to what a Christian Big Thinker who desperately wants to see the Church function in an influential social capacity has to say about what we do:

Campolo: I find most youth workers haven't a clue as to what macro economics is all about and how macro economic factors influence the poverty, and create the poverty in third world countries. They don't understand why third world peoples are angry with America...They hate a powerful country that is able to control international trade in such a way as to increase poverty in third world while it aggrandizes itself. Those insights into how things operate on the macro level and how macro factors in politics and in economics in third world countries and in our own country foster poverty are totally beyond the comprehension of most youth workers and that's a very sad thing indeed...

That means that in reality what is generated is pity, instead of anger. They should be angry at what is being done to these people by forces that are beyond their control...

I think [youth workers] need to know that young people don't know what's going on in the world...They [teenagers] have become so overly nationalistic under the auspices of the religious right that they cannot see anything wrong with America...The reality is that of the twenty two industrialized nations the United States is dead last in the proportion of it's national budget it assigns to helping the poor and the third world...

Kara Powell: What would you say to the youth worker, who isn't just dealing with kids who are nationalistic but parents who are [nationalistic][Campolo interrupts]...

Campolo: Point blank, I am not impressed with youth workers. I find that they don't know what's going on in the world. That youth work becomes a matter of fun and games. When I go the National Youth Workers Convention I get more depressed every year. Because what I find is what the youth workers are really interested in is techniques. They don't want to deal with issues. They don't want to deal with the hard nosed facts of what is going on in the world.

And when anything is said that causes questions to be raised about the role of the United States in fostering third world poverty, literally, this is literal, they get up and walk out. And when youth workers are that way I don't see much hope for kids. As a matter of fact I think that MTV may do more to help kids be sensitive to the needs of what is going on in the world than youth workers. If you are asking me, who is turning more people onto poverty, it's Bono of U2, rather than youth workers. Youth workers are pressured into maximizing big turn outs at the youth gatherings at their churches. That doesn't usually come by making them sensitive to the needs of the poor and the oppressed.

Dave Note: OK cool. But here's the interesting part. How do you motive people to action?

Campolo: I am very fascinated by is how much mystical experiences with Christ transform young people into ardent social activists and into evangelists. We have to recognize that we need More than just a social conscience youth worker who has a program. We need for young people to be invaded by the Holy Spirit and inwardly motivated. I really do believe that the Holy Spirit is a transforming force in peoples lives, and that when the Spirit of Christ is alive in people, they become very aware of injustices. They become very sensitive to the needs of the poor and oppressed.

And I don't want the church to simply become another social activist group. I want it to be filled with people who are imbued with the Holy Spirit that has sensitized them to the injustices in the system and to the sufferings of the poor. Increasingly we are finding that as we nurture intimate spirituality, that one of the consequences is not this 'me and Jesus' thing where Jesus becomes my boyfriend. But a process where by Christ becomes a motivating force within people that drives them into ministry to needy people."

End

On Sunday at Freedom House, we talked about Revival vs Social Influence. Embarrassingly often, churches draw a line in the sand and choose which side they will work towards. We're kinda afraid that the "skin" of either side is so repulsive to the other that both are not achievable.

We're either knockin 'em down with Todd Bentley or we're hugging the homeless with Shane Claiborne. Why choose? I want it ALL. That's my dream! But what Tony Campolo is saying is such truth that I'm stunned churches haven't had the marbles to really live it out.

Live life in the FULL ON presence of God... and let the goodness of God living in us birth not only dreams... but the strategy to be people of influence in our age. Go be the "salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth."

Oh yeah... and BTW... this goes for youth too. As our kids Pastor Nicki says;

"There is no Jr. Holy Spirit"

1 comment:

Matt Vaandering said...

o man, i don't think i could possibly agree more with Tony Campolo. God isn't about changing our minds, he's about changing our lives (which happens to include our minds). As christians, we must live selfless lives to serve others. no question about it. that doesn't mean being miserable, it means taking joy in seeing other people seeing their needs and even their wants met.

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