Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cricus Elephants

I'm going to be preaching one of the sermons in the Elephant in the Church series, and it looks like I'm going to be hitting on the Circus Elephant. It's the idea of consumer Christianity- feed me, clean me, scoop my poop, etc. I'd love to get some feedback and ideas.

Some thoughts I've had include shopping and hopping (looking for the church that fits us instead of how we fit the church), griping (always complaining about what's wrong instead of doing something about it), sucking (wanting the church to feed milk or not wanting to invest their own time into feeding themselves), surfing (riding the waves of the excitement of church without investing in it). I might talk about Labels vs. Lordship-- identifying with the brand of Christianity without taking up the cross. I'm thinking about using this video or something similar.

What are your ideas? What do you think of when you hear "consumer Christianity?" What is the appropriate balance of the church "feeding" the congregation and people learning to feed themselves? When is appropriate to sit on your butt and soak and when it is time to start investing? How well are we being the Church that Christ had in mind when he started it? How do passages like Colossians 1:10, Luke 14:25-34, Luke 9:23-25, Hebrews 5:11-14, and Ezekiel 33:30-32 apply?


At 12:31 PM, Blogger nathan. said...

There are lots of different ways you could go with this. This could be a whole series in itself!

When I hear the term "consumer Christianity" I think about the sub-culture of Christian "stuff."

I think about the Christian bookstore and how much Christians spend on random stuff.

I also think about how much is spent on Christian t-shirts, home decorations, books, conferences, DVDs, and other possessions.

Sometimes I think we justify our spending on material things because they are somehow "Christian." When in the end, a Christian CD and a non-Christian CD, or a Christian book and a non-Christian book, all have the exact same fate.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Ms. Genevieve said...

My question is how to balance life and contribute fully to the life of the church. I know it is not enough to go, I know it is not enough to tithe - but where do I get the extra hours to plug in?

I'm in a place where I have so many things going on at one time, something has to give. Is it church life? Is it my theatrical life? I dont know that I would be a very positve contributor to the community if I had given up something for the wrong reason, or if I felt like I had to.

I know I take a lot... but how do I give more?

At 10:08 PM, Blogger Elaine said...

Nathan's post makes me think of my husband's comments on things that get slapped with the label of "Jesus" or "Christian." He calls it the prostitution of Jesus. Seriously, Rob Bell makes a great point when he says Christian is a great noun, not a great adjective.
As for Ms. genevieve: I believe that if you are following God's dream for your life, then you ARE contributing to the church: the church universal. I have friends who foster abused pit bulls. They spend a large amount of time, money, and resources on this. Are they contributing to our church? Not directly. But are they contributing to the restoration of God's kingdom on earth? I say they are. It is important to serve within our church bodies, but if everyone's service is solely focused within, how does the church impact the world around it? I think most of us live lives that could stand to lose a few activities. That's where discernment and guidance become so important in the body of Christ.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger Pat said...

When I think about 'Consumer Christianity', what comes to my mind is what's been coming up for me more and more, "It's Not About Me" which seems to be what 'Consumer Christianity' is all can I get MY needs met? What about ME? Who is going to serve ME? Being Consumed with ME...ME...ME!

I'm slowly learning that when I am so inwardly focused on ME then I have once, again become ensnared and have stop receiving and living in the freedom that Christ died for me to live in. (Gal 5:1). So, then, my question becomes, "how do I keep the focus off of ME, which is inward and focus on Christ and others, which is outward. There are other questions, as well, but, I don't want to hog your blog! Smile!


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