Thursday, July 3, 2008

What the church needs is poetry.

The church has forgotten how to think with imagination and to speak creatively. We've simply become one more warehouse for merchandise, an outlet for the purpose of selling goods and programs. We believe with all our heart that "being" church is about attracting people.

I'm part of an old mainline denomination. In the 80's and even a bit earlier I heard the critiques so called "independent", non denominational churches had of denominations like mine.

"The Spirit of God is not in your church anymore!"
"Your church is out of touch."
"Your church needs to be more seeker friendly."

Sure they had a point. And at the time and through the years it would seem that they were right. After all we have seen the growth of the mega-church.

But think about it. What is the main thrust of the mega-church mentality?

Attract, meet surface needs of people, attract, entertain, attract.

I understand these thoughts are a generalization. All I am saying is that what the "independent", non denominational churches built to replace denominations like the one I serve have failed to revitalize Christ's church in America.

Church buildings filled with coffee bars,
amusement oriented youth plazas,
indoor play grounds, stores, etc.
are not, have not, and will not
become the church/community God intended.

Hear me out. I'm not saying my way is better. It is not. In many ways the denomination I serve has failed to make space for the breath of God to breathe new life into our tired and worn out programs. We have sorely missed the mark.

What the church needs are poets! We need gifted people with the insight and imagination with joy and energy to help us listen. We have not been listening to God....not me, not you, not us, not them.

Who are the poets in your life, in your community? Seek them out and let them lead.

Poets will not do what we have been doing. Poets won't build monster buildings with glitzy attractions. Poets speak the truth about yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Poets dig down to the root of what we are feeling. Poets push us to let go and to hold tight.

It's time for the poets and artists, the singers and the dreamers to lead the church.

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