Given the influx of technology into the popular culture, it is hard to miss its influence. I mean for starters you would not be reading this if it were not for the complex interworkings of the ever famous inter-web. More and more people we are becoming connected through social networking, media and e-mail. The world has become a lot smaller because of it. If something was to occur on the other side of the world, like an earthquake in Japan, we would know about it in a matter of minutes. News travels fast these days.
Because of this increase in technology more and more people are able to share their ideas about various topics: politics, sports, religion and others. Blogs, books, manifestos and websites are created so that their voice and opinion and understanding on a certain topic may be heard. Because of this many from all walks of life are connecting, sharing and creating all centered around a common interest and theme. Has the church seperated itself too much form the public that people, especially young people, are searching and seeking out spiritual resources elsewhere? The answer is a resounding…. Yes.
Not all communities of faith are this way but the fact remains the church has to serve something newer, fresher, livelier than what the overwhelming majority are providing.
I was given a book a few years ago and at first glance I didn’t know what to think of it. Then I read it and it had some pretty good insights, some I agreed with and some I did not.
The book is entitled The Gospel According to Starbucks. That’s right… Starbucks the coffee and tea company.
Here is a quote from the book:
Jesus did not endure his time on earth out of a sense of obligation. His life was characterized by joy and energy; it was spent in relationship with others. Today, too many Christians line up to follow out of duty of guilt, or even hoping to win a ticket to Heaven. They completely miss the warmth and richness of the experience of living with God. They fail to pick up the aroma of what God is doing in their part of town. Here’s the truth: God has set up shop where you live. The doors are open and the coffee is brewing. God is serving the refreshing antidote to the conventional, unsatisfying, armslength spiritual life—and God invites you in. God won’t make you stand in line.
I thought that this was a great metaphor for the church and the relationship that we have with it.
The church is serving something that other places are not, a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We as the church body need to be aware of that fact and find ways to share the Gospel message with all people. This means trying new things, new styles, ways of interpretations and experiencing the Divine. Within the ever unfolding story of God we find the warmth and richness portrayed in quote above, the only problem is that we have to find ways to share it better. Sadly, there is no quick fix. All we can do is strive for the time when the faith that we hold so dear to us and have experienced so richly is kindled in someone else.
The Church has a pretty big task ahead of it… but the church has changed before and it will do it again…
May the invite of the Church be: The doors are open and the coffee is brewing, God is waiting.