pretty interesting days in the life of the church these days.

no, that’s not a sarcastic  comment on some recent interaction or odd conversation with a “church-folk.”

first a little history…every 500-or so years in the life of the church there is a major change [some call it a “sea change”] where all the grids change & a lot of the assumptions are shifted.  programs change & people experience a shift in how they relate to God & how the church functions.  500 years ago it was the reformation, phyllis tickle does a good job talking about this pattern in this interview.

i read or saw [don’t remember which it was] an interview with tim keller on the perceived tension of a “social gospel” [built around the activity of helping those in need] & being evangelistic [getting people connected to Christ & their souls saved].  the premise of what he was saying is that we [the church] has felt a tension between trying to decide weather we [the church] are a church that’s focused on being an evangelistic body or one that’s built around helping people with their every-day needs.  and then goes on to say that we need not feel that tension.  in reality we’re called to do both things & we don’t need to choose between the two, but in fact do both.

couple all of this with a recent interview i heard with scot mcKnight where, among other things, he talks about a word in the bible that peter uses when he encourages the people to “do good” [heb.13:16 & gal.6:10].  this phrase is technical in it’s root.  relating to the activity of working & creating for the city; building structures, building docks, the shoreline, etc.

this is interesting to me.  when we consider the “what” of what we’re supposed to be doing in our respective towns & cities it’s significant that we engage in practical ways so that the church can move from this marginalized entity that’s for the “already churched folk”.   and if moves to a place where doubt & anxiety [why are they here?  are they just going to preach to me & try to get me saved?  whatever that means…] are replaced with “i’m really glad they’re here.  no one was doing that thing there.

i’ve been asking a question, a question that i hear others asking too [no, it’s not my question; just one i’m borrowing].

if the local church, in any town, anywhere,  just disappeared & was gone.  would it matter to anyone other than the people that called that church their “home church?”

 the answer to that question, for lots of churches across the country is a resounding “NO”.  the local church has seemingly lost it’s way & has forgotten, in some regard, the way of Jesus.  may that change now.  may we begin, in new ways, to live out the life of faith that Jesus exhibited.  may we, the church, reassert ourselves into the public fray once again.