Thursday, February 03, 2011

A Revolution Not Likely To Be Televised

We are inundated with the notion that the church is on the verge of a huge and necessary paradigm shift. In the church we often get the impression that not only can we make this happen but that its results will be measurably manifested. Some insist that this will be marked by a stout return to "foundations" or "roots" which will noticeably offend the world. Others look for marks of growth that will be impressive and thus God-glorifying in that world. I don't know. I tend to think of ours as a paradigm-shift era as well, but I think this will be more like what Gil Scott-Heron was on about in this classic song than what the authors and preachers seem to be on about in their best-sellers and web-portals.

By that I don't mean to suggest that God is bound to work in a way that brings no numerical growth or widely-noticed success. However, I do tend to think that when the paradigm you are shifting from has based itself on those things then you might be wiser to look for the signs of revolution elsewhere. Perhaps the revolution is not in those things but in the real work of patient, plodding reformation and daily reconciliation that has been the heart of the church all along (and still is, visibly noticed or not, wherever the church is alive).

This is the daily revolution of Christianity as it is new every morning in the hearts and lives of Christians and the motions and actions of church-communities. It is not often sexy, and when it is sexy it is often exploited. But God keeps with us, doesn't he? And so, televised or not, we put our trust in him for the changes and reforms and mutual communion that he brings among those who - noticed or unnoticed - believe and seek the Father in Jesus' name and not their own.

(incidentally, Gil is probably best understood here as illustrating a truth, not taking sides in a race comparison)
(see here for some background to the culture references employed in the music video)


1 comment:

Tony Tanti said...

yup. I was one for a long time who thought big changes and revolution were needed, though I don't know that I really believed they were coming.

I think you're on to something here though.