Monday, March 26, 2007

Things that Make You Go WHAT?!

I have been reading Dan Kimball's book They Like Jesus But Not the Church which looks at how emerging generations view the church and our beliefs. Dan does some man-on-the-street types of interviews and offers a lot of food for thought on how we should be thinking about ministry today. Kimball states and I believe that we are living in a post Christian society where people are just not in touch with what is happening in the church or in Christianity. Sometimes we, who are inundated in the Christian sub-culture, forget that people around us might not understand when we talk of biblical characters or Christian events. It's almost as if we are like the early Christians seeking to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout a world who doesn't know much about Jesus or the Bible.

Not too long ago Kimball's premise was verified by the Jay Leno Show when Jay did one of his Jaywalking segments and asked people questions about the Bible. There were questions like Who were Cain and Abel? Who was Noah? What were the names of Jesus' parents? What did Jesus do? Some of the answers were almost laughable until you realized that these people actually didn't really know the answers. But, at the same time, this did not surprise me at all.

Today was another eye opener for me. The power company is replacing all of the poles downtown and it seems that our area is one of the next to be overhauled. Two men from the power company came into the office to arrange time for the power of the whole building to be shut off. The conversation went something like this:

power guy: We are replacing all of the poles downtown and we wanted to let you know when we were thinking about working around here. We need to cut the power to the entire area in order to do this. So, we were thinking of doing this this Sunday turning the power off early in the morning and for a lot of the day.

Those of us who heard this looked at each other in disbelief. This Sunday, for those who may not know, is Palm Sunday one of the major days in the Christian calendar. We celebrate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem...and this Sunday begins Holy Week.

I'm thinking OK even if you didn't know what day it was in the Christian year, you should probably know that Sunday's a big day in the life of the church. (I mean there are a lot of people who think that Sunday is the only day we work.) We promptly told him that Sunday wouldn't work for various reasons: the organ, the elevator and handicapped lifts, lights, etc. etc.

So then he suggests Wednesday evening. This didn't surprise me after the Sunday comment. We talked them out of that too. So we arranged a Tuesday for them to come.

But, once again, this reminded me of Kimball's book. We do live in a culture where church is something you might do maybe twice a year...where you go when you want to get married or if you want to have a special time to remember someone special. But to assume that everyone is knowledgeable of the church, the Bible or our traditions is pushing it these days. People are searching for something to make their lives complete...maybe it's time we step out of our walls and out of our comfort zones and do something different to relate the Gospel to their lives.