Saturday, January 06, 2007

News and Views

The Atlanta Journal Constitution offers this piece on corporate partnerships between some African American megachurches and Daimler-Chrysler. Something about a den of thieves echoes in my head.

Now this is encouraging. An aging, dwindling predominantly white congregation gives away its church building to a growing predominantly African-American congregation. The only thing that would be better is if the older white members would stay and labor with the new church.

Interesting and maybe sad Baptist and politics factoid:
"Baptists divide along partisan lines defined by race. Black Baptists, like all black members of Congress, are Democrats, while most white Baptists are Republicans. Notable exceptions include incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., who will serve as president pro tem in the new Senate, making him third in succession to the presidency after the vice president and House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif." See story here.

One reason why careful discernment is needed on the question of church and culture. Another reason, this time with video.

Apparently, Rick Warren is being credited with redefining missions, with a little help from IV. Is it me... or does the new missions sound a lot like the old "social gospel"? “The old model was to win people to Christ and then involve them in ministry,” Warren said. “Now, it’s the other way around.” Hmmm....

Like a lot of people, I've held that perhaps the only reason to legitimately "split" a church body is if language is a barrier. Well, maybe not for long. See here.

4 comments:

Nicholas Cardot said...

I can't believe that people buy this trashy philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Thabiti,
Concerning the elderly white church, being taken over by the African American church...

In my city, it more likely to be the elderly white church taken over by the mosque or the Sikh Temple or the local business. I don't know about the 'Birmingham' in the article, but in the Birmingham (UK) where I live, over the last 50 years the inner Birmingham neighbourhood demographics have changed (ie white to black / asian ), and the existing evangelical churches have failed to reach out. Their members moved to the suburbs and commuted in and many churches lost any contact with the neighbourhood, let alone completed any meaningful outreach.

There is a bit of me that wonders if the Lord withdraws His Spirit from churches who fail to reach beyond the ethnicity of their members, when the neighbourhood no longer reflects them. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation .... but if people refuse to take it out into their communities (the church in the article may not be guilty of this - although the fact the remaining members are leaving suggests otherwise), to people who don't look like them ... well is this the Lord's discipline ?

Colin Thomas

Shawn Abigail said...

I think I've asked the question before, but what do you do if your local church doesn't reflect the cultural diversity of the community you are located in? There are many Chinese and East Indians in our community, but only a couple in our congregation. Is it tokenism to reach out to a specific racial group just to achieve diversity? Or is there something we can do to evaluate ourselves and whether we've put up barriers that would make our church unwelcoming?

Anonymous said...

Shawn,

To my mind, the whole PC / tokenism issue, is unhelpful when thinking about who is in your church and who isn't.

The 'great commission' sends us to all, and for local churches the first 'all', we should think about is 'all' who live around our churches.

Ephesians 2 speaks of how those who are socially seperate are brought together in the gospel and by extension in the local church.

Revelation 7 speaks of how 'every tribe and nation etc' will brought together in heaven. Our local churches with their focus on worship and the work of the kingdom are preparation for that great day when all God's people are brought in.

To me these are scriptural reasons enough (and there are more) to seek a mixed church (where this is the nature of the community around our churches), without reference to tokenism etc. This 'mixed - ness' (or whatever we call it - 'diversity' to many seems to have all kinds of connotations) is not just about ethnicity, but also class and whatever societal divisions are present in our localities.

To not do this would to me seem to be in contravention of James 2, prohibitions against favouritism.

Now how we do this ....


Colin Thomas