February 11, 2011

Conviction and Coffee Round 2

Coffee shops never cease to provide me with encounters ordained by God. Today seems to be no exception. For the past hour or so I have been eavesdropping. It's a bad habit I know, I ought not to do it. Granted they are speaking so loudly the only way to avoid it would be to plug in earphones, which I don't have, or leave which I am not going to do. I came here to get a head on some lesson plans and by goodness I swear I will!

However my train of thought keeps getting derailed from either John, Romans or Ecclesiastes. Behind me sit two woman, one not much older that myself an artist. The other my best guess is early 60's, I am not sure what she does but her husband has written some unpublished children's books about a house who dislikes children. Their rather boisterous conversation did not take long to turn to faith, and Christianity which is where it has remained.

The older of the two has just started a house church some weeks ago. The self report is that it is going well. Dinner at 5 worship at 6, just trying to keep it simple, loving God and loving people.

The artist is apparently struggling in where she belongs. She mentioned that she feels alone in her church that no one is quite like her. I suspect she is right. The church has hardly been stellar in reaching the artist type. At least not the ones I have been a part of. It's not hard to see why, for the most part we typify the conformity that they rally against. Pressed shirts, nice hair sitting in pews, all looking in one direction singing the same songs at the same beat and tune we must make hipsters sick.

The sociology student in me still chuckles a little at the artsy non-cons, they might not look like me but they sure do look like each other. Strange how they have decided to stick it to the man by being their own person, only to discover that they are all the same person.

And Never Forget It

As I eavesdropped I began to feel so very convicted. They covered a number of topics that hit close to my heart. The older and by far the loudest woman listened to the younger as she covered some of our more grievous sins. We don't really care about people, we are closed minded, we try to make everyone a like, we miss use our money, we live in luxury while others starve, we have made faith too hard, we are always stressed and angry and so on.

With each word her reflections pierced my soul a little more I contemplated turning around to engage with them. It was not hard to tell where the artist stood. She loved Jesus, was seeking God's will but she was so unsure how to interact with the rest of God's people. A far to common problem.

The Body of Christ is not what it should be.

I really feel for the artist, given the right circumstances I think we could be friends. She works for MUN as a part time professor teaching research methods, for a number of publishing firms, and on top of that she writes comics. She also is working on an art project with AST, something she feels God has laid on her heart. The gist of it is a theme centered around clay and muk, showing the scriptures that talk about clay in the form of muk and mess, that things are not so much a blue print but are chaotic. I am admittedly intrigued.

Just as I was about to intrude, to see if I can't turn their conversation into an impromptu interview something happened that made me pause. The conversation took a scary twist. Arrogance began to flow between them like water. It was almost scary how quickly it welled up. I think the older woman was the prime source.

The church as I know it, love it and hurt for it became a whipping thing. It became a husk to be discarded. Now I am all for change. The church as I know and it love it is hurting. It is lacking. It is not all it needs to be. It's broken, and hurt and suffering, just like the people who make it up. But it's not trash.

I worry for our future, the creative energy and ideas being displayed by the young artist are invaluable, we need her. The jaded arrogance that came from the older woman is frightening and we have to much of it. She tossed off a church that was closed and stifling to her, and ran from it to create a home church. But one day I hope she will discover that she can run from that church, but the problems she is seeking to avoid will follow her, they are a part of her.

They are a part of all of us. They are sin.

There is something that always puts me off about the attitude that says, 'If your not part of the solution you are part of the problem'. It does not take long to move from that to ' I am part of the solution, and you disagree with me, so you must be the problem'.

We need serious people willing to work hard to fix serious problems. What we don't need are people who assume the faithful have all left the church to go on their own way, and  that all that remains are people of dead faith. We need the prophetic voice like Elijah pointing out where we have strayed, but we don't need the attitude that says, I am the only person who loves God. It wasn't true for Elijah and it is not true now.  


  1. Great post :) Read this while sitting in Just Us! I find people are so much more open to talking to strangers in this environment. Just had a chat with a gentleman across from me about Macs and PCs. Maybe coffee shop evangelism needs to be a new branch of church outreach? :)

  2. Hahaha, many have tried that's for sure