I was running this morning and as usual, contemplating my existence and trying to not pass out, when something jumped out at me. It was during the halfway point of my run that I took this picture with my phone. As I walked across the street I saw what God was pointing out to me.
In this picture you see the historic route 66 tribute. It is a bronze looking statue of a horse and carriage running up against a family in a Model T (or is it Model A?) on this very historic road. You see there was a time in history when things started to shift so drastically that humanity was not ready to deal with the change. Up until this time in history everything was horse and buggy, or some kind of animal and buggy, and there was little protocol for how our infrastructure would handle this monumental change. The horse and buggy days were drawing to a close and the era of motorized vehicles was taking off.
When one era starts and another one is ending everyone feels the tension. I am pretty sure that old famer “McDonald” was not too happy about this new loud and interruptive machinery, always hogging up the road, getting in the way. And did he mention that they are way to fast! “Someone is going to get hurt”!
As I looked at this and marveled at its size and what this art was communicating I started to wonder how this is a great picture of the church right now. There have now been hundreds of years in which we did church the same way, communicated it the same way and wooed people the same way. Today things seem so very different.
For many of us thinkers, writers and preachers we are seeing a new era being born in the church, how she does things, how she communicates things and how she woos people, is drastically different today from…say 1950! The world is changing at a drastic speed and keeping up with technology, culture and communication seems to be a challenge for the most nimble companies. Now you have the church, tied down in a culture that simply doesn’t fit anymore. Its as if I can hear the preachers yelling at us that where you are going is too dangerous and unknown.
Early explorers used to have a term for this. “Where dragons lie” is the term used when marking unknown territory on maps. These were the places that know one had been before. These were dangerous places. These where places “where dragons lie”. The fear of the unknown will lock more people up than the fear of change (I would even argue that the fear of change is the fear of the unknown). When there is unknown in play you can bet that we will leave it up to our imaginations to fill in the blanks. “There must be dragons out there because it has never been explored. I wonder if it is the fire breathing kind or the ‘puff the magic dragon’ types that lay out there”?
I am here to say, to anyone listening out there, that God has got this whole thing under control. He holds the future in his hands and he is not afraid and he is asking you to trust him. Trust him that he has YOU, your situation and your future.
There will always be people saying, “you cant do that”, or “we have never done it that way before”. They will try and instill fear and doubt in you and even in God’s ability to take care of the future when it means changing things up in their world.
On a macro scale, the CHURCH is at a pivotal point. People are no longer impressed with them telling us that we are trash and going to hell. The guilt doesn’t work anymore. The masses are starting to see God in a new light and he sounds like Jesus! Full of hope. Full of peace. Full of love. This is the new vehicle that the CHURCH must embrace and if your pastor is not saying these things then you need to really look at him or her and ask a crap ton of questions, because we become what we behold. To say this another way, “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. Your version (or mine) of God may be way off and we need to go back to the basics to try and imagine WHO God is and what he STANDS for. The blueprint is in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In the “Gospels” we finally see God’s heart and who He truly is. We now know what is important in HIS economy of thinking.
If you your church is struggling, in financial situations and things are starting to feel desperate then it is NOT resonating with the masses. Jesus always resonated with the masses and they wanted to hear what he had to say. Churches need to listen up, look around and start asking the tough questions.
I don’t know about you but I am excited to see what God does in my lifetime. What part will you play? Will you be one of the people that scream to world that God is being ignored or is it that you are being ignored? Will you be getting into this new vehicle of love and acceptance and looking for ways to help others or will you stand behind the person in the pulpit, throwing stones, wondering why know one wants to listen anymore? This one is on YOU.
Till next time,