My co-pastor, brad, and i just got done playing in a YMCA basketball league on saturday afternoons. While we both love basketball and it has definately served that good purpose (trying to get back in shape!). But, its also been a cool way for us to burst out of the Christian bubble that pastors (and following that example, the rest of Christians) so often find ourselves trapped in. While the example of Jesus Christ was completely different…he spent his time with his disciples, but he also spent a TON of time with the multitudes. Brad describes this Christian subculture phenomenon as “Christian Incest.” I think that’s a pretty good description 🙂 Its not like we are playing in this league because these guys are our new “evangelism projects.” That would be one of the most insulting things to them if they read this blog (and its really, not, so if they did, i wouldn’t be worried) It’s that we are actually trying to build genuine, real, honest friendships with people other than only Christians. What a dumb concept, “i am only friends with Christians and all other people are only my friends so much as they are projects for evangelism”…how insulting…of course, that is how i used to function because that is what i was told “evengelism” was. It used to be, become friends with someone so you can share your faith with them.” Now, its become friends with someone because they are a person, if you are really friends, issues of faith (as well as other taboo subjects such as politics, etc.) will naturally be part of your friendship and conversation. its the agenda that kills most of our “evangelism” attempts and techiques.

well, enough of my little rant, i didn’t start out thinking this…i am sure there are some holes in my thought, but there often are.

i’ll end with this, if you have never watch the movie “The Big Kahuna” (Danny Devito, Kevin Spacy) you MUST SEE IT. It gives an amazing secular critique of the typical conservative form of evangelism. Something worth watching with a bunch of people (christian and non) and have some discussion along with it…

okay, i am really done now. there is a good NBA game on tonight…

8 responses to “Bursting the Christian Bubble”

  1. matt says:

    My motto: “I am here to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable”

    I saw it on a bumper sticker in a pagan store (no, really, it was a pagan store… not a pagan STORE, but a PAGAN store… kinda like a christian book store, only with pagan stuff… anyway…)

    I thought it was an awesome saying, and it is my MO for ministry to christians…

  2. meaning, you like to disturb and “rock the boat” of some christians who haven’t themselves stepped outside the bubble???

  3. matt says:

    ohhhh yaaaah.

    I hope i rock the boat anyway? Have you seen School of Rock?

    “I serve society by ROCKING!”
    🙂

  4. Hi Todd (and toodles to you too Matt),

    Kind of far afield here. I linked here through Matt’s blog (and saw the little writeup on the CGM site) and was interested in your thoughts, Todd, on the book, “The Missional Church.” I want to read it very much. It sounds like it would be good for some of us in my church — http://www.friedenschurch.org — to read together.

    I’m responding here, however, to the “disturb” quote. That’s something like a motto for us journalists — “Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” Just throwing that out. When people complain about how there’s no “good” news in the paper, they often mean they want us to comfort the comfortable. Sorry, that ain’t our job. Save it for your company newsletter.

    And the Big Kahuna is indeed an interesting movie. That’s a good idea, to use it as a discussion group topic.

    I too used to be into the “insulting” style of evangelism — people were little more than projects. Sometimes that’s even our attitude to the family of Christ when we’re “discipling” someone.

    I’ve found over the years that as we generate and build real relationships inside and outside of the church we get to know people’s true needs and desires and then we can help them, as friends, by introducing them to the Lord. It’s like saying, “I have a good friend who helped me a lot in this and that. I think he would be able to help you too.” The effect of the 40 Days of Purpose is an excellent example of this, I think.

    Just thoughts, with their fair share of holes, as well.

    Sincerely,

    Dan Benson
    Hosea 6:3

  5. Dan, thanks so much for visiting…its nice to have you join the conversation…

    A few thoughts, the book, Missional Church is a very good book so far. I am about half way through it (along with the other 5 books i am halfway through!) It?s a great challenge to the church to not simply do missions and outreach programs/ministries, but to be defined by mission…

    a really neat perspective to look at is this idea: The reason we need to be missional in nature is because God in His very nature is missional also. God sends Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ sends the church…everything that the church does must be tied to this idea. It is the sent by Christ to continue God’s plan of redeeming creation.

    The book does get a little bogged down in some discussion about the history of evangelicalism and denominationalism (this is interesting stuff, but could get a little long). In my mind, if this book is really read carefully, it can cause you to ask some really tough questions that will really challenge the way you (we) think about the role of the church and what it exists for.

    These are my thoughts at 10:30 pm?of course, I am still reading this book, and I am one who usually has to read things twice times to really comprehend them well enough to explain them?so this might all just be misleading! J

    Journalist eh? What kind? I enjoyed your thoughts and I think you earned a reader on your blog J

  6. Dan, thanks so much for visiting…its nice to have you join the conversation…

    A few thoughts, the book, Missional Church is a very good book so far. I am about half way through it (along with the other 5 books i am halfway through!) It?s a great challenge to the church to not simply do missions and outreach programs/ministries, but to be defined by mission…

    a really neat perspective to look at is this idea: The reason we need to be missional in nature is because God in His very nature is missional also. God sends Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ sends the church…everything that the church does must be tied to this idea. It is the sent by Christ to continue God’s plan of redeeming creation.

    The book does get a little bogged down in some discussion about the history of evangelicalism and denominationalism (this is interesting stuff, but could get a little long). In my mind, if this book is really read carefully, it can cause you to ask some really tough questions that will really challenge the way you (we) think about the role of the church and what it exists for.

    These are my thoughts at 10:30 pm?of course, I am still reading this book, and I am one who usually has to read things twice times to really comprehend them well enough to explain them?so this might all just be misleading! J

    Journalist eh? What kind? I enjoyed your thoughts and I think you earned a reader on your blog J

  7. Thanks Todd,

    I am a newspaper reporter with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, currently covering courts and county government and whatever else they tell me to do. Been in news, features, sports and business in newspapers and magazines for more than 25 years now (oh my aching back).

    I’m new to blogging, thanks to Matt and others at The Rock. I feel myself becoming addicted (God help me, I love it so).

    You could say I’m a lay leader in my church. I teach classes, help organize evangelism initiatives and do a few other things. Many in leadership, not the pastor so much, still think along the lines that the mission field is “out there” and that our job is to to primarily send money to individuals preaching the Gospel in Outer Slobovia. Outreach and evangelism locally is seen as increasing church membership. We’re outgrowing our building so the thinking naturally trends toward building a bigger church instead of planting a church in a community that doesn’t have an evangelical presence.

    Some have never heard the terms post-modern or missional and it’s difficult in the course of a short conversation to explain these concepts, partly because I don’t fully understand them or find it difficult to articulate them. (Our associate pastor has heard the term “post-modern” and tends to think it’s a euphemism for a watered down Gospel.)

    So, I’m thinking along the lines of perhaps seeing if there’s interest in starting a reading group or discussion group to go through books and articles on the subject. Thinking of perhaps focusing on the youth leaders, but could include others.

    Right now, btw, we don’t have many college students but we are growing in the number of 20-somethings, I think because our pastor is innately very post-modern in his approach. We have a high school group of a couple dozen. Our church attendance is about 300 every weekend.

    Is “The Missional Church” one of the best that you’ve read on the subject? Would you have any other suggestions on what to read? Any thoughts on building a “post-modern” ministry in my church. Thanks.

    Dan Benson

    P.S. — Don;t get me wrong. My wife and I love our church and are fully committed to it. Many wonderful, dear saints. Also, we go back to the early days of GCM when we were with ISU Bible Study, The Rock’s precursor. We left Ames for California as part of a church plant group and then through a complex series of events ended up in Milwaukee and got reacquainted with GCM in just the last couple years.

    If you’d like to send me an e-mail, my address is custardflan@yahoo.com

  8. Me again,

    Check out my blog again. I’m starting a little research project related to this. Perhaps you have some insight for me. There also are some interesting links.

    Dan