Thursday, April 26, 2007

Success Means You Aren't Doing Something Right...

Yup, Billy and I are disagreeing again.

This time, he's quoting This blog with the following statement:
The emerging church used to say mega-churches are going away. They’re not going away. They’re predicated on the metaphor of consumerism. And as long as consumerism is the dominant mode of our culture mega-churches will always thrive. Some are saying that this next generation hates that. They don’t. They love it.
-Shane Hipps

To be fair, the rest of the blog that Billy quotes goes on to excuse itself from its inflammatory stance, but as Billy has chosen to pull up and talk about that one quote, I will do likewise.

Reading and re-reading this post, I am reminded of something my Mom used to tell me:

"Don't over-spiritualize being poor"

And she didn't mean "broke", "On a down-cycle", "experiencing a negative cash flow situation". She means f---ing poor. We're talking about a woman who at one point had to decide if buying a 10 cent pen would break her budget.

Allow me to give a little history lesson about our denomination (Foursquare).

WAAAY back in the day, Aimee Semple McPherson started a radical movement of faith called Foursquare.

It bloomed.

Like, a lot.

At one point, her soup kitchens were feeding more than the government's.

After some controversies inside the church, and after Aimee's death, things kind of waned.

In that period, the Foursquare movement died down. The huddled Foursquare masses hunkered down.

Enter Pastor Jack Hayford. Jack's gift was to bring Foursquare out of its exclusivity and make it accessible for all.

Some people did NOT like him for that. He had shifted the status of Foursquare for a small people who fancied themselves as the few, committed, misunderstood devotees, who know the whole truth. Suddenly everyone is at the party.

Success and having everyone in on a movement of God does not make it "consumerism". It means you have made something that people can identify with.

Wherein lies the problem with Mega-Churches?

Is it the fact that a lot of people come together in the name of Christ?

Is it the fact that the pooled resources of many can make for powerful contributions and provision?

Here, let me learn you some edumikation: It's a cultural instinct of us as U.S. citizens to always root for the underdog.

However, sometimes, the underdog isn't right.

So, with the new "emerging church" coming on the scene, they have a need to viciously rail against the "mega-churches". Otherwise, how can they, the small, few, misunderstood, be able to justify their continued course of action despite the lack of apparent interest?

Jesus was NOT the underdog. Yes, I said it. He was the epitome of someone who has everything under control, knows what is going to happen, and does what He needs to do.

Throughout the Bible, God consistently chooses the underdog. But they are humble underdogs. If Mr. Hipps' comment holds sway on the course of the emergent church, it will be destroyed from within by those who think any church that grows too big is "consumerism".

1 comment:

Michael J. Salerno said...

Hey Joe, you should look me up and give me a call.

Pastor Mike