Saturday, December 15, 2007

Middle Class Christians - The dilemma of the church!

Another brilliant post by ASBO Jesus. This picture truly challenges me to go outside the box. The monoculture that we have within church disturbs my soul - as we seem to "advertise" to this monoculture. The thing we also need to realise is that this group is a dying breed. The church needs to reembrace its call to the poor and the marginalised, its call to be a body that reaches out to the whole world. As my friend lisa said, look at what the "mainstream" christian sites in america aim at propragate - they are white middle class family churches. Where are many* of the lost - they are from broken families, poor - from a multihued background (African Americans, Hispanics, Middle eastern, Cambodia, Vietnam etc, etc.) If christianity is to be the light to the whole world it has to get past the programme mentality and get passed aiming at the scrubbed up and clean. It has to go back to the heart of the gospel, where we aim to reach the downcast, the poor, the unworthy - the image of you and me when we take off our visades and realise how in need we are of God, how broken we truly are.

I have told you of my dreams of heaven, its rich in colour and diversity, rich in the voices and langauges of the world - all the peoples - ethiopians, sudanese, Jews, Palestinians, Orthodox, catholic, vineyard, baptist, southern baptist, breathren. Rich, poor, man and women all praising God, all thanking God for the grace that God has shown them. All partnering with God for his glory.
*In the original post I implied that the middle class were saved or didn't need God - I did not mean to say this. As I say in the rest of the post - Gods Grace is for all, and I am arguing that we need to look outside the group that we are used to. Outside the comfortable, to see where God is moving, challenge preconceptions, breakdown walls, and fully embrace the story of the gospels.


Kris said...

Hi Nathanael,

Challenging cartoon!

Of course, middle class white people can be lost too - in fact I would say that probably most are.

Nathanael Baker said...

I know mate, and most of the people that I will be in contact with in wellington while I'm working are middle classs white people and I do my best to show them the love of christ, and show them the way.

I think what disturbs me mainly is what has happenned where there is a distinct disconnect from the teachings of Jesus - where there is a call to serve the poor and the christian churches focus on making life comfortable for the rich.

From what I've been reaching the church model that has become in vogue reaches about 12 percent of the population - these are those with middle class values. This group is also shrinking and will continue to shrink. The challenge is how to reach the vast majority who wouldn't come to the services we have created. I beleive it means going in at the ground level, incarnating into the situation around us and just talking and trecking with them through life.

Nice to hear from you.

Nathanael Baker said...

Thanks for the comment Kris. I read the original blog and changed that sentence. That showed up one of my faults of rushing posts! Thanks for the comment.

God Bless and hope all is well for you.


Kris said...

We're doing well thanks. Heading up to Gisborne in a few days for a Christmas holiday.

I enjoy reading your blog, although I don't comment much (on anyone's blog)!

Rhea said...

I think that the problem is that we tend to like people who are like us. So if I'm white and middle class, then I like other white middle class people more than other groups. So I'd like my church (or workplace, or school, or whatever) to be predominantly white middle class people. We need to get out of our comfort zone. We need to follow Jesus's example in this area....Jesus came from heaven to Earth...if that isn't "getting out of our comfort zone," then I don't know what is.

Nathanael Baker said...

Hey Rhea, thanks for the comments, like you I agree with you that it seems to be that "Like attracts like."

This is one of the reasons I beleive that christians need to move out of thier culture, thier place of comfort into the uncomfortable. To move into situations that seem strange and wierd - for some this is missioning to the other side of the world, for others this means living among the poor and the marginalised - like the friars did and living out the gospel.

For me personally, this means I engage with culture, I reach out to the lost whoever they are, whatever thier station and try to be a friend and love my neighbour. I have to be aware of the culture and be aware of not creating cliques. I try to speak the langauge of those around me, show meaning to people without watering down the truth of the gospel. Just be there and care for those around me, answer the questions of people humbly and be willing to go out of my way to share Christ.

Thanks for the comment, sorry for the long reply, I should stop doing this!

Nathanael Baker said...

Hey Kris, thanks again for commenting on the blog. Say Merry Christmas to Louise for me. Hope you and the family are going well. Hope you have an awesome and restful time up in Gisborne. I value having you comment on the blog.