I have recently stared following a blog called The Resurgence – I like some of it, and some of it I find difficult… but it all causes me to stop and think again about my faith and what it means to be part of a church. Take this article on communicating in enemy territory. Nick Bogardus gives some reasons for bad communication which I think could be applied to how well a church is doing (or not) in general:
What keeps us from recognizing that we’re in a war and keeps our communication, for lack of a better word, civilian?
Love of self, money, success, and esteem (2 Timothy 3:1-4)
Quarrels about minor points of theology (Titus 3:9)
Foolish, ignorant controversies (2 Timothy 2:21)
Coveting what someone else has (James 4:2)
Conceited arguments over words (1 Timothy 6:4)
The cares, riches, and pleasure of life (Luke 7:14)
Fear (Matthew 10:26-33)
It is so easy for us in the west to sit on our rear ends doing not a lot. Sometimes we even use the excuse that life is hard. Really? compared to who? Of course my suffering is no less just because someone else is suffering more, but all the same. How easily we are diverted from getting on with loving God and loving neighbour by the things mentioned above.
I was talking in the pub the other day about how a few pounds a week can contribute mightily to a young persons education in Rwanda. The young person opposite me in reply, voiced his concern over tuition fees here.
A valid concern, but where did I go wrong as a youth worker that this considerate, helpful young man cant see past the “cares” of this life in order to get on with the job of giving some of our possessions to the poor? And he is not alone, I mean don’t we all suffer from this in some way or another? To my shame, I know I do.
We might not be asked to give half of all we have to the poor, but how come our relationship with Jesus doesn’t cause us to act with such generosity and love? Once again back to Nick’s list I think. Perhaps if we were able to see ourselves as in a battle, or at least to seek the urgency of love, we might be able to overcome some of these hold backs.
Because it was out of sheer gratitude to Jesus, out of love ignited, that Zacchaeus gave away half his wealth.