I responded to a twitter message that was retweeted by someone I follow. The message went something like... 80 percent of non churched people said they would go to a Christmas service if invited so get out there and invite someone.
My response was something along the lines of "why? so we can inoculate them with a small dose of consumer Christianity that keeps them from catching a real cross following discipleship?" Which I know is a bit harsh, but I am a bit harsh sometimes.
A brief conversation followed which ended in a statement that basically said, "I am not going to let you drag me into your sad little world"
Now, first of all I understand the issue. I seem like a scrooge. I seem like someone that hates the church. I seem like someone who is taking pot shots at those doing something different, or arguably more successful than what I am. I can see that, really I can. But... I do not think I should be dismissed so easily.
Not that I am in any way comparing myself to any of these great men of the faith, but John the baptist wasn't exactly a sweet heart, Paul was down right mean sometimes, even Jesus whom we follow was a killjoy on occasions. The entire tradition of the prophets is not to say nice things, but to actually be a big downer. So the question isn't: is what I am saying negative?, but rather: is what I am saying true?
Christianity as it has become defined in the western world, is subverted. It is not the revolutionary, radical and sacrificial way of living that we see in the book of acts and in stories of the early church. It has become rather a culture of its own, that mimics the culture of its day. And unfortunately in most of the western world that means an adoption of consumerism. We make a product of Christianity. This product includes well put together services, with good music, good message, and good child care. The product includes a very well put together handbook of beliefs, that we can convince ourselves of, and then be suitable for heaven. This product in too many cases gives us an ideology that says our possessions are a sign of God's blessing, that our Christian duty is to take care of ourselves and our family first and then if we have some extra to give it through an agency to those that might need some help.
I remember one time I was sitting in a service that was all about God's plan for sexuality. It had drama, and video, and a nice compelling message. And then the band came out and was playing "in your eyes" by Peter Gabriel, and I leaned over to ask my friend that invited me a question about the service. A lady in front of us angrily told me I was being a distraction. A distraction from what? A song you hear a hundred times a week on the radio? I was distracting from a performance that was meant to be a consumable good, for a target market. I was distracting from church, but not from being the church, but from the product of church. Inviting people to purchase this product is not mission, though it is what we are asked to do by the organization that exists.
Jesus on the other hand calls us to go out into the world, not call people to us. He says to make disciples, not converts. And he says to teach them to obey everything he taught... which means, sell all you have and give it to the poor, store not up treasures for yourself on earth, feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the imprisoned and sick, stand up non violently against oppression, love your enemies don't bomb them, live out the kingdom of heaven. Yes, Jesus calls us to something all together different than a service on Christmas.
We don't need to invite people to a service, we need to invite them to a revolution. But first we have to live it ourselves. Far from being a sad little world, it becomes a wonderful, joy filled, and also tragic world, bigger than can be imagined, as it is not bound by the physical.
come and join the revolution