I’ve been gone from Anchor the last two weeks. But this afternoon, I talked with one of my fellow parishioners, who filled me in on what’s been happening. And I must say, I’m alarmed.
He said we’ve been having way too many visitors–more than we need or can handle. An uncomfortably large number of unfamiliar faces are attending. At yesterday’s Grandparents’ Day potluck, one guy who came for only the second week brought a crockpot. How presumptive is that? Does he think after just two weeks, we’re his church home? I’m sorry, but it’ll take more than that to break through our cliques.
Apparently, some of our newer people are taking Pastor Tim’s sermon admonitions to heart. When he says to go talk to nonChristians and to invite people to church, they’re going out and actually doing it. As if we don’t have enough people already, they’re inviting more people.
It’s a sign of immaturity. Those of us who have been Christians for many years know that the pastor doesn’t actually expect us to follow his sermon directives. He’s just assembling a message which we’ll agree is biblical and challenging and interesting to listen to–not something we’ll actually put into practice. It’s a little dance we mature Christians play. We nod our affirmation to truths we already know, then ignore them.
But these newcomers–they just don’t get it. Their enthusiasm will make us seasoned churchgoers look bad. Who, then, will they look to for spiritual guidance and models?
We need to teach them that the goal is intellectual assent, not behavioral change. That like the poor, we’ll always have nonChristians around us, and we shouldn’t get too concerned about their eternal destiny. That when Tim tells us to do something, he doesn’t really mean it. He’s just saying what’s expected.
I’m confident that, over time, these newcomers will get with the program, if they just watch the rest of us closely.1 Comment