Thursday, July 17, 2008

Diversity is the Spice of Life

We had a birthday/Ph.D. graduation party for my wife last week, and decided to invite all of friends from all or our various spheres of life. Work, church, other random friends, etc. My wife and I know a diverse group of people. I was kind of glad that the anti-Obama guy didn't ever get in to a conversation with the Obama lover, or the universal-health-care-hater didn't find out that there were Canadians in the room that love the health care in Canada. Although, I would love to see those conversations happen - just not at a birthday party :)

Of course, looking at this group of people, and how racially diverse it was in addition to being idealogically and theologically diverse, made me glad to have such cool friends.

Of course, I don't think many people in church realize how homogenous the church really is. When I read some blogs about cool, hip, "modern" churches, I get discouraged at how really clueless so many of them are. And they justify what they do in Church by what "non-Christians" tell them after the service... about how cool their service was. I call them the "non-Christian pastoral ego strokers" because, well - that is what they do: tell the pastor that everything they are doing is cool and perfect.

The problem is - if they are telling the pastor the truth - wouldn't there be a lot more of them than a handful? I mean... if these "seeker-friendly" churches are getting it so right - wouldn't there be thousands more people coming to church. Because it is so cool?

I don't think they realize that these N.C.P.E.S.'s they often have at their services are not as un-churched as they claim to be. You see, they tend to say stuff that is radically different than my real-life non-Christian friends say about the same church services - the ones that go to these churches once and never return. I did some investigative journalism once, and found that many of these N.C.P.E.S.'s are actually professional church visitors. We've all heard of professional church hopers, right? We'll, these N.C.P.E.S.'s are just a step down from that. They go around to all these different churches to feel "positive energy", to encourage the churches that are not that spritiual or Godly (their words, not mine), and then to hit another church the next time. Usually not the next week - just the next month or whever they hear of another feel-good church to go to.

Personally, I really don't have a problem with people that do any of that (at least they are going to a church service from time to time) - just the pastors that use these peoples' comments as "proof" that they are doing the right thing in church.

That is why I like my church - they are not afraid to tell you what they have done wrong or to try something new even of it is followed by a deafening, uncomfortable silence during the service. They want to give people a chance to speak out scriptures that they feel led to share after worship. And sometimes - no one shares anything. Not very seeker-friendly, but they still try it and I love it.

Just rambling now, mainly because I haven't posted in a while.