Friday, May 15, 2015

Revive day 1

The end of a long and frustrating day! (see also Which Revive)

Some things that puzzled or concerned me:
  1. The now obligatory greeting to dead Aboriginal elders and the anachronistic attribution of land custodianship in government circles has eaten its way into the church; why do we participate in their ancestor worship? Its hardly Christian.
  2. We have multiple 'keynote' speakers! This honour is handed out meaninglessly at commercial conferences to build a market position at low cost (no cost, probably) as draw cards are added to the speaker list. Surely the idea of 'keynote' is one special person to launch a theme?
  3. "If worship is your pathway to God..." Is there any other 'pathway' to God? The speaker meant singing swoony songs, of course while slowly rocking to the rhythm with one hand in the air. But this has nothing to do with how the Spirit teaches of worship in the Bible.
  4. A pray-er gave God 'permission' to act, calling the time "[to God] your space to shape us..." My understanding of the Bible is that God will shape us through the entire spectrum of his effect on us in every way as he grows us through the vicissitudes of life in this fallen world. We don't give God delimited permission! God is not in our pocket.
  5. We have, it seems, a 'target' of 1000 churches. If this is the level of strategic capability in Baptist circles, I pity them! Targets are management in reverse. Far better to understand the required capability for the mission and to build it critically.
I could go on, so just a couple more: one church has its mission statement as having a "contagiously beautiful life in Jesus". That's not a mission, its not an action delivering to 'customers'. Its a motto. A good one, in my view, but only a motto. The only mission of the church is to make disciples.

The first speaker, Leon Stead gave an engaging and brilliantly structured talk (and I am pleased that the linked website eschews the word that is misapplied in Christian circles 'leader'), the music group drifted back on stage to give a patronising and trivialising back announcement. So a 20 something singer whose life experience is that of one of Stead's children has the contumely to think that a crowd of experienced Christians has any use for her judgement. This was then repeated by the double act compare. Far better to just move on. There is simply no need for continual back announcements, they kill the moment.

Before all this happened I was speaking to a fellow, I think he was the pastor of a church, and we were conversing quite well when a couple of the fellow's friends came up, ignored me and engaged the fellow in conversation. The pastor forgot me, turned to his friends and took up that new fresher and obviously more interesting conversation. Later he brushed it aside as something he had to attend to; but surely good manners, you know, how we respect each other, has to get into the way of peoples indulgent self-importance. Why do church people steam-roller conversations to get their bit of time? No excuse me, no waiting politely, just their internally brewed urgency.

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