Sunday, August 31, 2003

vampires again?

Sure, more vampires. That is, more implications of how reductionism has affected our experience of Christ. Just one more for today:
If the only goal in life is to attend church regularly, then the only job of spiritual leadership is counting those who attend. Hence the focus on church growth here in the states. If 500 people attend my church, I'm really "better" that you if you have only 250 people. And that's exactly how pastors feel. When they meet together the guy with the most attendance wins. Then the goal of all behaviors for a pastor and those who serve with them is to simply have more people. That's all. And for a very long time I thought that was cool. For many years I helped pastors grow their churches. Now, a natural part of the church is to grow and something is wrong when it's so boring that nobody wants to show up. But when the only reality is to create a warehouse of those who've "prayed the prayer" then it's just the same as a business. And the only two "spiritual" acts of leadership are a 30 minute sermon and 20 minutes of leading worship. The rest of the week is running a business. I was enamored with being a business owner. And spent lots of time teaching pastors the tools they'd need to run their businesses too.
In reading about the time when Aidan lived, especially after 660AD, this confrontation happened in their world as well. The Roman church was a business, and preists were concerned with the trappings of success. the bigger the diocese, the better you were. By comparison, Aidan walked everywhere, had no delusions of grandeur, and encouraged his preists to live simply and to be servants of those they served. In comparison, Roman bishops lived like kings and loved it.
So, tommorow is Labor Day here in the States, and a good time to reflect on leaders who serve and reject the trappings of success, so that those who labor can experience a little more of the presence of Jesus.
Part 3 commin' up,


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