Friday, September 07, 2007

Vive la Revolution

History is one of those subjects that is very dependent on a good narrator. One guy who fits into that category is the comedian Mark Steel. I just read his book Vive La Revolution and as well as making me laugh lots it also made me think too - especially about church. You see, around 200 years ago when the revolution was gaining momentum as a movement, groups, caucuses and personalities began to emerge who would shape the future of the French nation and indeed of the world (if you consider the French Revolution to be the paradigm of all modern revolutions). The thing I consider to be significant is that none of these political groups set out with a vision of what their particular club ought to look like. They were all far more concerned with giving their attention to higher things, namely the new world order which they believed could be created and was worth fighting for. And this is where church leaders ought to pay attention. Growing their membership was not the aim. Neither were their activities an exercise in proving the primacy of their pattern of belief over the other variants on offer. For them recruitment was just a necessary step towards their goal of social transformation. Similarly, fulfillment for an individual member was not found in convincing another individual to believe and join the group, it was that they would draw all those around them suffering the same oppression into the action of removing the old order to establish a new world built on a totally different set of values.

I really think we should be spending less time thinking about church growth as an end in itself and more time devoted to sharing with people the amazing Christian vision of what life would be like if the kingdoms of this world became the kingdoms of our Lord.

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1 comment:

BlackPhi said...

Hmmm ... I kind of agree with your last paragraph, but the French Revolution led to the Terror, and eventually to the reign of Napoleon - who did have a much more down-to-earth vision of the acquisition and use of power.