Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things that have caught my attention this week



There have been a number of posts or articles that have caught my eye in my reading this week. Again this blog is to cover the fact that I have failed to do any substantial writing this week, but show people that I am alive, well, and are thinking over some things.

Boston Globe has a great piece on the state of education in the west. As time is going on it seems that our universities seem to be becoming more and more focused on "bum-on-seats" educational policy, rather than providing an education. Education in my mind is to teach people to be good citizens, to teach people about how to think critically about the world around them and to engage in the world that they live in and bring about positive outcomes for society. Rather than just providing commerce graduates (I know, I'm a intellectual who will not get off his soap box, but hey, we need some of them) with insufficient pieces of paper, who cannot think for themselves and can't engage with the world in any way other than in theory. Why am I writing on this, I think this has some good lessons for the church. The church needs to come back to understanding the mission that it was put here on the earth for, that is being Christ to the world around it, incarnating into the world. It wasn't sent here to be an institution, It was sent here to be a counter cultural community of followers, showing people Gods will, challenging people to grow and change and become part of Gods plan for the world.

Ryan of Tall Monastic Guy has written a blog asking the question of whether the Church can learn about cultural relevance from Kanye West. I think he provides a good overview, I think Ryan stretches it a bit too far, but there is one good point. We need to be empowering the innovators within our churches. These individuals are those such as our entrepreneurs, artists, film-makers, graphic-designers. These guys have big dreams, they are the life of the next generation of churches. God is creative, we are creative too! We were made in his image so we could create, build and design the kingdom of God. We need to give these individuals the resources to create and design a church of the future, or even just ethical businesses, art houses, cafes, pubs, tattoo parlours etc, where they can reveal Christ in ways that are relevant to the audience that surrounds them.

Dan Kimball pastor of Vintage Faith Church has written a post on Exchanging Religion for the Mission of God. The prayer of his church is
"Asking God to transform us into a worshiping-community-of-missional-theologians". This is what I'm desiring too as a Christian, to be following Christ - as a worshiping, missional theologian. Not as a man who follows his own will, being arrogant, believing he has it all right, but a man desiring the will of God, and following his call for his life.

Mosaic has started an exciting (well in my view) series on community. I have not been able to listen to any of the sermons yet, but believe that this will be an encouraging (and challenging) take on church community. I love mosaic's vision, the church in L.A. has members from over 50 different ethnic groups, focuses its energies on creativity, evangelism, worship, etc. It really tries to reveal Christ in an authentic and real way. Church community is not about being a consumer (service often becomes people demanding the church to serve us!). Many times our communities of faith take on a culture where all is done to make people within the community comfortable (usually Christians and the one or two who accidentally walked in the door), but comfort may be the wrong thing, comfort excludes those who are outside the culture of the group, we have to drive to mix this up, change our culture, desiring diversity (e.g, desiring to break out of a group which usually is white middle class, and increasingly female to a community which is a melting pot of cultures, talents and desires- this will prove to be chaotic and very uncomfortable!)

On the last point, I read in the listener about organizations and the need for them to become more diverse. Those organizations moving forward these days are mainly network based computer companies. They are not driven by the old model of hierarchical bureaucracy. These organizations are much more flexible and able to innovate at a faster rate. This might be a good thing for churches to take account of!

2 comments:

ryanangie said...

Nathanael,
I appreciate your words and interpretation of my post. I, more or less, was encourging readers to be students of and do good exegesis of our culture. I'm just asking "why?" is Kanye West so captivating to so many. Some of the answers come up shallow some profound, but none irrelevant in terms of how the church could learn from him and others.

Nathanael Baker said...

Ryan.

Cheers for you comments. I would like to say that I have been really blessed by some of your posts while I have been reading your blog. Cheers for your words of clarification as well. I hope that God continues to bless you and your ministry