The newest book off the shelf has been a really encouraging read for me personally. It’s called Sentness, and it’s the one I quoted from this past week, talking about the church in Melbourne, Australia that saddles two distinctly different cultures. From the book:
“The back door of Urban Seed’s offices opens onto ‘Baptist Lane,’ which was a major hub for heroine users, with a high incidence of overdoses and ambulance calls. The front door of Urban Seed, meanwhile, opens onto Collins Street between Town Hall and State Parliament, one of the most prestigious shopping streets in Melbourne…The church is at the ‘Paris’ end, where you can buy expensive clothing, accessories and jewelry. Every year, Urban Seed takes more than ten thousand students on city tours out of the front and back doors of the church. And then they ask, ‘Where are the addicts?'”
The issue they were discussing (and what we were talking about Sunday) was the issue of consumerism in the west. Are we becoming “the new addicts,” needing hits of retail therapy just like everyone else? It’s a hard question, if we’re honest. See, consumerism isn’t an evil in and of itself. We were made to consume…we need food and clothing and other various items. But when that consumption begins to define who we are and starts to shape how we see the world…it moves from something basic to life into something that defines life. And it often begins to define how we see “the church” as well.
One of our basic tenets is that we have been called not to “do church” on Sundays, consuming religious goods and services once a week…but to BE the church 24/7. That requires those of us who follow Jesus to slowly divest ourselves of this consumerist bent in our lives and in our culture, and begin to live for the sake of others. It means we don’t knit-pick what the church does or doesn’t do for me, but begin to ask what God is calling me to become and to do with Him and for Him…in the church, and in the world.
If you’ve been with us at Restoration for a while, or even just started, here’s one thing I hope you continue to be inspired by and let seep into your soul: you are called by God to make a difference. Your life matters. You were created to be unleashed on your church, your neighborhood, your city, and the world…not just be a good “church person.”
“Church people think about how to get people into the church; Kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world. Church people worry that the world might change the church; Kingdom people work to see the church change the world.”
I hope this is what continues to make us different. I pray that God continues to unleash us on Salem and the Valley. Because we’re not called to just build a church for us. We’re called to change the world.
Let’s go do it!