Things seem to always come in large portions, when I hear something of good topic it seems to then start popping up all over the place. I've heard so much recently of the enormous amount of the poor and how many there are in our world. And with that, how much we could eliminate it, if the people that have would share with the have not. We are talking roughly 1.2 billion people that are in extreme poverty (poverty that is on the brink of death) and although that is a huge number of people, our generation in America has the resources to END extreme poverty in the WORLD! That's crazy, isn't it? Rob Bell recently said that a woman in Rwanda was given $40 from a western church which was used as a business loan that got her out of extreme poverty and started up her business (which is a small market stand) that quickly led to her feeding her family and building her a new home. Wow, does that not blow your mind? We have the resources to share and there is more than enough need to go around, so now what? This leads me to some places of frustration and I'm sure overthinking, but thinking none the less. There are times where my time working at Panera is a time where it can be serving the local community but there are many times where I feel like it's just feeding our insane consumerism, which is one of the biggest plagues today. People bitching that, "it's not hot enough, cold enough, good enough, not enough portion, not fast enough because I am busy and need it NOW!" I've been talked at often as unimportant and a necessary evil in getting to the food that is never quite right, but much money throughout the week will be plopped down for it. Then as I walk around and pick up people's left overs and used trays I hear them crying more fouls on not having enough of, you name it, and how so and so just got this new thing so the bar has been raised. I can often be found in these camps as well, believe me, but my last two years have been an incredible learner in gratitude and desiring to give yes, but even more so, to not own what I have. Not owning, but attempting to steward, share and give, which is not easy, but God cries for us to do. I can't help but notice the insane way we consume in this country, everything is about getting, buying, or straight up taking. We keep finding ways to make it faster and come in different flavors, styles, and whatever it takes to sell more, buy more, and bring in the most profit.
Sadly the church is often looked at in the same category. "You better give me good music, good teaching, and something good for my kids!" If not "I'll go down the street and find another." It is very obvious in the results from churches competing with our culture for better entertainment and having a great "cool factor" for our SUNDAY MORNING EXPLOSION, EXPERIENCE, PROGRAM, SPECTACLE!! "So what did you think of our program? Will you come back? Do you think this is something you can support financially?" "We better make some adjustments, because people said the music was too loud, there was too much playing not enough preaching, not enough singing, someone's kid was bored, we didn't preach the Bible enough." Or maybe we then react to that by going to the opposite end and trying our best to avoid "programs" so we give people another style of consuming, maybe just softer, quieter, more reflective "worship", more singing and "preaching the word!"
I don't have the answers to how best "do church" and to be honest I think it could take many different shapes and styles if we just had a change of attitude. No longer desiring to consume the church, but to be the church and to share responsibility in bringing heaven to earth by the way we live. I love talking theology, but a theology that is inactive is but a mouth piece for abdication of responsibility and apathy. I lose sleep and my mind everyday in how to best lead youth to live a counterculture life of serving, giving, and loving, period. No expectations of return or conversions because we have to have some countable results, but just loving because that is the heart of God. But what about the fun and attraction of the popular youth group? Can't serving be fun, can't loving be more life giving than "fun youth games?" Can't they be one in the same? I would absolutely love to start a business that truly serves people, gives them something they have to share and what they share betters the world, not in a cool factor but in a practical factor. The profit of the business aids the world and doesn't just line my pockets, but is a place of resourcing people out of poverty, out of a godless life. Something that exudes God as the giver of life, the gift of freedom and definition of love. This is seen as unlimited so we can feel free to give it, because there is an endless supply of Him. In a world of MYspace, I-tunes, and I-pods, that we would be a people of YOU-WE and all credit given to HE!! Where do we go from here? Can we start reading and living out God's Word outside of expecting someone to read it for us and just telling us what to do, in a way we want it served up? Can we be the bride of Christ, and stop being the bitch of religion and the world?
Aching for change