10.12.2005

Suburbia: Good soil?

It's true that most emergent/missional church experiements are in urban environments -- both in "hip" communities and among the poor. In this post an Australian church planter comments on the tensions inherent in ministering in suburbia. There is a resonance between what he describes and my suburban environment, and though I am in an existing church the challenges to incarnating the Gospel are the same. He writes:
When people believe that they have ‘almost made it’ and just a little more will see things right, the gospel message of self denial and cross carrying is pretty unattractive.
This message is made even more difficult to communicate in our current political climate, where we are also doing just a few more things to implement God's will and set the world right. The theology of the cross seems un-American these days (which is a good thing).
Of course middle Australians want their kids to have good values and to grow up ‘nice’ so we could look to snare them that way… but… I just don’t see Jesus or Paul functioning like that. Can you really imagine Jesus runing a kid’s ministry to ‘get the parents’? as I sometimes hear suggested. You have to admit it doesn’t sound much like him does it?!
Interesting take on this theory. I know parents, some in church, who definitely want their kids to learn "values" and to be protected from evils in the world. In Christendom the church provided this service, inoculating children from bad things while drawing their parents into membership (if they're lucky). Suburbia may have more people looking for the Christendom church than other, more marginalized parts of society; I don't know. But that analysis assumes the spirit of the previous quote; that things are generally good and can get better if we do a little more (keep our kids out of trouble, etc.). Personally, I hope my kids are prepared for this world, not conformed to it, but not sheltered from it, either.

I like the writer's thought because Jesus and Paul were not into getting members into pews, they were training disciples. Jesus would be out in the world with the parents, talking to them where they are, rather than trying to get to them through their kids.

No comments: