Saturday, 26 June 2010
Compromise in the Name of Jesus
Reading Graham Robb's book on Discovering France (holiday approacheth!). Great read and found this:
'The beloved village priest, the staple figure of romantic fiction, was a very rare breed. In most people's minds he was supposed to be useful, like a snake doctor or witch. The Cure of Ars is the only priest who managed to make his parishioners give up drinking and dancing. Most other priests who won the hearts of their pagan parishioners did so by reaching a quiet compromise with the pagan world. Since most of them were sons of artisans and peasants they shared the fears and visions of their flock.'
Put this alongside Graham Cray's comment about Fresh Expressions:
Ideally fresh expressions are planted following a process of prayerful listening, and making relationships through acts of service. But if the initial point of contact is a worship event it can only be one which it is hoped the relevant people will like, rather than one which they are involved in shaping, or which we can shape for them with greater care, because we know them.
The first comment comes out of a mega Christendom context (18th century 'catholic' France though I don't think disimilar from 'protestant' UK). The second from a Post Christendom context (21st century UK).
There is something in me that resonates with the concept of the Christian leader and community coming from the real world and having a healthy concept of compromise in the name of Jesus. 'He sits and eats with sinners etc' Jesus was prepared to pay the ultimate for being misunderstood and compromising.
GC's comments just remind me that whereas Church As We Know It tends to start with a modified version of CAWKI ('Let's invite them in to what they think they would like, becuase we do really...'), maybe to work with the 'quiet compromise' issue and be with people for a while where they are, is God's way forward as we enter a Post Mixed Economy era. 'Presence is such a delicious word.'