6.04.2005

the Naked Church

This is awesome. I just read it, and it's too good to keep it to myself. Special thanks to Natala, and Maryann.

"In his book The Naked Church, Wayne Jacobsen, with a nod to CS Lewis, offers us a possible look into a devlish staff meeting. Hell's middle management is trying to come up with a way to sidetrack the church:

"Trying to keep it small hasn't worked - let's make it big!"
All the other devils gasped, thinking that old Screwtape had finally bolted his sanity.
"Make it big? What do you think we've been working so hard to prevent?"
"Hear me out, colleagues, We can kill it with its own success. What would happen if the church suddenly became acceptable?"
"Lot's of people would go to it, you idiot."
"But what would all those people do to it?" Screwtape replied with a smirk, then sat back as he watched their minds churn.

One-by-one the others began to see the brilliance of his scheme.
"Many would come just for social reasons. They would quickly dilute those who are really in God's clutches."
"An imagine all the programs and activities they would have to plan to keep those people happy. Nothing chokes out intimacy as well as busyness."
"A crowd like that would have opinions so diverse and disruptive that the power of the gospel would be compromised in just a few short years."

"The church would eventually become a machine, chewing up individuals instead of loving them. Programs would take over where personal ministries now flourish. And everyone knows how easy it is to kill a program."
"Hear! Hear!" they all yelled."
They couldn't possibly teach all the followers to walk with God personally, so they would soon substitute rules and guidelines for his ever-present voice."
"The machine would have to be run by professionals. The others would become nothing more than spectators and bill-payers."
"And that leadership would waste most of its time tied up in administration, which we know benefits almost no one."
"Who would have time for individuals? They would have to try to disciple people by regulations, and the cracks in that are so wide we could go on vacation."
"And best of all," Screwtape spoke up again, "they wouldn't even know what had happened to them. They would think themselves successful beyond their wildest dreams.
They would be pillars in the community and stand before huge crowds. We would let them keep all their Christian terms, but we would substitute our own meanings. It's foolproof!"

"But size alone won't do that, Screwtape," Satan himself finally said. "They could still teach all those people what it really means to follow God and they could still love people one-by-one no matter how big it got."

"True, O Wicked One," Screwtape waggled his index finger, "but do you think they would?" Do you think they would risk losing all those people or would resist the corruption that such power and influence would give them?"

Satan smiled in whatever ecstasy hell allows. "Of course not!" He slammed his fist on the table, "Let's do it!"

6 comments:

TGL said...

Still enjoying your blog. I attend a large church and there are many positives to the size, but we must remain vigilant. Size of a church is not a direct indicator of it's health or "success".

jimmy said...

exactly. It's such a drag to get together with pastors and the first question is ALWAYS, "what's your attendance up to? How many services you guys doing?" As you said, there are better indicators of success. At the church I go to, we have an annual meeting where we talk about the number of "decisions for Christ" (among other church business) that have been made thoughout the year. My question is, "where have they all gone?". We've had 400 decisions in the last year, but our attendance has gone down? What about discipleship? What's going on? Why is this happening?

Gina said...

Duuuuuude.

Hidden Valley Girl said...

One word my friends: RELATIONSHIP . . . with God, with one another; nothing else matters.

Homebrewer said...

I think the largest gathering I have been to in many months (maybe a year) had ten adults and about that many kids.

jimmy said...

While I don't dig the emphasis that most churches put on numbers I will say that I am not completely opposed to large scale gatherings. I think there is a time and place for everything. This past weekend I led at a church event with around 700 people in attendance, and I've led for groups as large as 7,000. I still like the intimacy of a smaller group though. It feels a lot more like "community" that way. The story in this post exposes several of the problems that large groups have to deal with though, so I wanted to see what you guys thought. I didn't put it up here to start a fight, or say that true church can't happen on a large scale.