Usher: Hey Deak, brilliant post here – couldn’t help but tout it! Since we had such a good conversation because of it:
and Mark’s post shows it affected him with a slight twist (of lemon) hehe
Conversation that ensued after reading these:
Usher: Hey Deak, I’m not sure I take issue or not regarding the comment on “birds and imprinting”, but no bother. I just wanted to bring out the point of how foreign “organic” mindsets are in today’s human western culture. Is it any wonder that the church is so much a reflection of the supermarket?
Deacon: Go on, I’m listening.
Usher: There’s no place for “ugly carrots” in the produce section of today’s markets. God forbid an ugly apple, pear, banana, mango, off color head of broccoli or anything else for that matter. The first inclination to choose is that which is pretty and uniform and without blemish. Taste, longevity and danger are all secondary.
Deacon: What brought all this on?
Usher: Most likely TV and the press I guess. Ugly people don’t make it onto TV so the world strives to be thin and pretty and perfect, just like the stars and their air-brushed magazine covers.
Deacon: Your point?
Usher: Churches have followed suit. They’re full of “gifted” orators, professional musicians, accomplished businessmen on the committees and so on. Entertainment and accommodation are the criteria the humans migrate to. In the meantime, the “leaders” have to have ways to measure. They migrate to numbers. Numbers can be substantiated and boasted about. The laypeople want pretty programs, shows and great music along with gifted sermonettes. The pastors want accolades, money to add staff to share in the work and build job security as well as grow their careers.
Deacon: So where is discipleship in all that?
Usher: My point exactly!
Deacon: Can discipleship function in today’s church in the midst of all the other stuff?
Usher: Not if leaders are bent on measuring their success. This is where the problem starts. If you take away the programs (you lose the crowds). Take away the great orators (you lose the crowds). Take away the money (you lose the crowds and the buildings). Take away the professional musicians (you lose the crowds). Take away the money (you lose the career-oriented staff) and voila! Now you haven’t the distractions, nor the expectations, nor the crowds.
Deacon: So you’re saying that crowds = success?
Usher That’s kind of what it all boils down to. Ask the televangelists. Crowds equal numbers, numbers equals money, money equals success and thus, God must be in it.
Deacon: So if there are no crowds, then there is no money, how does the church grow?
Usher: Christ had only 12 disciples. He didn’t say things to the crowds to attract them or their money, in fact the largest crowds he attracted, he fed. And then he said tough things to the crowds and the crowds left and he went about his discipling. Scriptures say he wasn’t a “special” or “beautiful” person. Maybe this was because he knew if he came to earth a beautiful being, then we would all feel insecure because we are all imperfect when we compare ourselves to “beautiful” people. (Even beautiful people have proven this is true.) He discipled imperfect people and the church survived all these years without “perfect” people.
Deacon: So this is why the church seems to be portraying itself to be the “perfect” or “blessed” one?
Usher: A discipler works with the ground that he’s on, with the people God gives him. He sees everyone a precious gift from God. He is challenged to bring out God in these people no matter their lot in life. Every member has a place in God’s kingdom, but not in man’s. Today’s church seems to “market to the people who want to be like us” creating sects and divisions and exclusivity. Thus the 35,000 denominations. In an environment like this, everyone strives to become like the leader, the perfect carrot if you will. Except they don’t know he is just like them if you take away the steroids, the pesticides, the pretty packaging and the artificial coloring. In essence, the church normalizes and cripples the body and discipleship empowers the body. If pastors didn’t care about credit and measurement and they truly wanted the kingdom to prevail, they’d do all within their ability to empower the kingdom. This would eliminate the focus of one pastor to many and bring on the every man a minister. The church would then become the all-powerful organic vehicle it was in the first century. A true discipler as mentioned in comments above operates under the radar. They seek no glory. They thrive on seeing the kingdom multiply itself. They rarely take titles, they urge their disciples to follow in their footsteps and become disciplers. They are often unrecognizable in a crowd.