Thursday, March 12, 2009

Witnessing is not Loving

If I have had this conversation with you before, forgive me, but I wanted to blog it out as well...

I am still bothered by a discussion I had last year with a KPC member (at that time) regarding an upcoming "Block Party" we were about to host in our neighborhood.

I was told that by hosting a "Block Party" without any intentions of having an altar call, that we were being "carnal".  (I HATE theological jargon).   I explained that the point of the event was not to accomplish anything, but instead to just build relationships of love with our neighbors.

The response, "Well, at least I can go around sharing the gospel to people that show up, even if you don't preach anything."

My response, "I don't think I want you going around doing that, the point of the event is just to get to know and love people right now."

The response I received is the basis for this post:
"Isn't sharing the gospel with people loving them?"

So... is it?  Is walking around sharing the "Good News" with people always loving?

I believe the Bible shouts, "NO!"

Proverbs 27:14 - If you shout a greeting to your neighbor too early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.

What is the point of this verse?  It is saying that something that is good (greeting), when done in the wrong time (early in the morning), or the wrong way (shouted), will NOT ONLY be rejected, but will have the OPPOSITE effect (taken as a curse).

How does this apply?  The Gospel is a greeting--it's great news for the world!  But, if we don't love people and use discernment in our timing, presentation, and perceived reception, not only could the Gospel presentation not be received as a loving gesture, but it could be received as an act of spite.

Given this principle, we can know that WITNESSING IS NOT LOVING someone, when there is not love already present.  However, logically speaking, loving someone does imply (at some point) witnessing.

How about you?  Do you see the difference?  Know anyone shouting their greetings too early in the morning?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Suburban Sprawl

I need to go back to Sociology class and relearn about Suburban Sprawl - where everyone leaves the city and moves to the outskirts to start new and afresh.

I found an article today that I found disturbing:

It is from Toronto, but hey, who doesn't love Canada?

The point of the article is this:  not only do churches often leave the city to reach the "Sprawlers", but churches actually are a "kick-starter" of Suburban Sprawl.

That's right, churches leave their property in the city to pursue greener pastures, with more (cheap) land to build on, paveable parking space, and more capable tithers.  When churches move out of the community, it leads to those in the community moving out as well.  


And the result:  neighborhoods left behind without the influence of the church, and many neighborhs, left to deal with their growing crime, poverty, educational, and family collapse on their own.

Can't churches be like the tree huggers and agree to not leave a neighborhood without planting another church to replace it on their way out?

Let's start a movement to reverse this trend!  Let's see people leaving behind the land of prosperity to engage the land of poverty.

Seems like something Jesus would probably approve of...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why I love our Church

This past Sunday (and for the next 4) David Cramer taught at KPC.  His message was great--on the wholistic simplicity of the gospel, tearing down the labels we have used to define various theological camps, and laying out Jesus' good news of rocking the world in every facet.

For someone like me, growing up in a world of labels and division (charasmatic vs. traditional, conservative vs. liberal, reformed vs. free-will, evangelical vs. mainstream) the lesson was quite freeing.  However, we found out that not everyone shared the same experiences and perspective.

There was a man who had not been around those labels, not seen the hurt and separation caused by words such as "Social gospel", "political gospel", etc.  The only presentation of the gospel he had seen was the simple all-inclusive gospel Dave was describing.   For him, then, the discussing of the different labels was a path of confusion, dividing what was already (for him) united.

Here's what I love:  there were clearly people on both sides of the aisle on this one, each frustrated that the other side couldn't understand where they were coming from.  BUT, as is a common theme for KPC, we are able to talk it out, right there on the spot, in the middle of the "service".  David responded with much grace and God moved us into a time of freeing discussion that brought us all to a point of trust as a community.

Different people.  Different perspectives...But willing to push through conflict, openly, for the sake of unity.

I love our church!

If you get a chance, check out David's transcript!