Fall 2010 Chapel - October 27th
Now I want to invite you to listen to the lyrics of a song by Sara Groves.
To the Moon
by Sara Groves
It was there in the bulletin
After the bake sale to raise funds for fuel
Take our church to the moon.
No one to change our opinions of God
Just lots of rocks and this dusty sod
Here in our church on the moon.
We know our liberties we know our rights
We know how to fight a very good fight
Just grab that last bag there and turn out the light
Q&A with Chapel Audience:
1. What does this song mean?
2. Is taking the church and flying away to the moon good?
3. What do they want to get away from? Is there a spa on the moon?
What does the song identify?
Get away from what?
For our children
For our/my beliefs
4. What does the song parody?
To be clean because we are apart from
To build a fortress for God and us
(Or a place for us, oh and by the way God is welcome too)
How many of you think taking the church and flying away to the moon is a good thing?
How many of you think staying here on earth with the church is a good thing?
How many of you know churches that are attempting to build a moonscape on earth?
To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World.
Three Paradigms of Cultural Engagement:
In his work Hunter identifies three different paradigms of cultural engagement practices by the church in contemporary America.
Defensive against the world
Relevant to the world
Purity from the world
Listen to the traits of these three prevalent church postures.
Adherents to the relevant paradigm want the church to engage the world.
Examples include: Seeker-friendly churches and the emerging church movement.
Each of these three paradigms contains components that are attractive to me and to different segments of the church. None of them are completely wrong, but none of them are completely right.
I want to go on record as stating that God does not call us to escape this world, to take up residence in some spiritual cocoon. This is not his plan for His church, or His world. Going to the moon is not an option.
In the days leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus was providing a glimpse of the manner in which He lived, resident in one world while being guided by another. Played out in that week, in the starkest of contrasts, are the values and differences of two worlds, worlds in which He resided simultaneously. Jesus speaks from an earthly experience all the while being guided by His heavenly reality. Listen as He prays to the Father about His disciples:
I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
John 17: 15-18
Like Him, His disciples are part of a two-world paradigm. This is what He has known and intended all along.
Verse 16: They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Verse 18: As You sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
In, not of.
In it, not of it.
THE MISSION: HIS AND OURS
Life is sticky. Life is messy. To stay here, on this earth, is to live in a place filled with muck and mire. As Gene has been sharing from Romans, a world operating with a sin paradigm.
Yet this is exactly where God intends for us to be. Right in the middle of the muck and the mire. The sticky, mess of sin.
N.T. Wright, in his inspiring work, Surprised by Hope, reminds us that first God calls us to be transformed, then he calls us to be agents of transformation, and to always remember than this can only be accomplished with and in the person of Jesus Christ.
And it came about that He was reclining at table in his house, and many tax-gatherers and sinners were dining with Jesus and His Disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him.
Mark 2: 14-17
God calls you and me to live a life in Him and His love, and to in turn, share His love in the life we lead.
. Where have I heard that phrase before? The NNU mission statement?
James Davison Hunter. To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
N.T. Wright. Surprised By Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. New York: Harper Collins, 2008.