A few weeks ago I decided that I probably shouldn't post every day so that people who visit here less frequently don't miss something. I was also in a funk about posting here in general. I don't know what happened since then.
Right, so when we last left a certain rant against the local megachurch, the blogosphere had begun to respond in surprising and constructive ways. In part, it was surprising because it was constructive. It was also surprising because it showed that my blog constituency extends beyond simple agreement. Not that I write for agreement (remember UCC Leakgate?).
So the post got linked and the responses came, and in case you didn't read them, here's a summary and some response of my own. I am going to attempt this while minimizing the felt need to defend my own ministry:
~'Don't blame the megachurch for your problems.' This one is easy: true. I know of no church that would blame a bigger church for their being small, other than perhaps accusations of sheep-stealing which stem from a bigger church offering a choice that a smaller church can't or won't.
~'No one holds exclusive rights to movie showings.' I actually covered this in my previous entry. What raised the suspicion was not that another church was doing a movie night, but that a 'bigger better' church was doing a 'bigger better' movie night so soon after ours. Again, I would err on the side of coincidence and tradition in this instance. However, megachurch supporters should be aware of the 'bigger better' attitude in their context, i.e. 'We have 1000 people, we're doing something right.'
~'Megachurches are big because they're out there. Small churches are small because they're not.' HOW a church is out there is the crux of this issue for me. A church can be out there by hosting concerts and pizza parties and pool tournaments and 'safe alternatives' after football and basketball games. None of these are inherently bad and are needed in the community. A church can also be out there by building a Habitat house, hosting a soup kitchen or food pantry, walking in various fundraising walks (CROP, Relay, March of Dimes), taking local or not-so-local mission trips, and generally cultivating a spirit of mission that reaches beyond Pizza Evangelism (I just made that up). My cynicism about the human condition is going to shine through a little here when I ask: what are people going to find more attractive and gravitate toward? Obviously, at least to me, the pizza and pool. Jesus was out there by turning water to wine and eating with F-listers, but he was also eating with F-listers and healing and feeding the poor and forgiving and so on.
But this whole issue stemmed from a movie night, so how do I explain that? Basically, if you're only doing movie nights, that's how I explain it.
~'You're a pastor. You shouldn't use such foul language.' To me, this is missing the forest for the trees. But more than one person got hung up on this so I guess I have to say something. Actually...no I don't. But you'd be surprised at how some of the Greek in the Gospels and Paul should be translated. This is more a cultural issue and less a moral one, outside of using such language insultingly. I don't know why I even included this paragraph. Somalian children are starving.
This discussion goes on and on, but I'm done writing about it except in response to comments. In fact, I'm taking tomorrow off. The Roundup comes on Friday. Later, kids.