Churches behave like businesses but act surprised when people in their congregations behave like consumers. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against being organized. I’m not against plans. Anyone who knows me would laugh at that idea; I can’t go 10 minutes without organizing something. And if I had something against business, I wouldn’t have an MBA. But there’s a difference between organizing and institutionalizing. Between making plans and packaging them. Between building a loving community and surrounding yourself with “the best.” And it makes no sense to establish a business and expect either your employees or your customers to pitch in like they’re at a family reunion.
During Lent we reflect on the life of the one who makes reconciliation possible. We recall moments of reconciliation, in our own lives and in the history of this wonderful, heartbroken world. But we look around and see, mostly, accommodation to the way things are. And so we yearn for the way things could be, for the way things will one day be. Slowly, as the days lengthen, we are turned, in our reflecting and remembering and yearning, toward the rising of the Christ, and the eventual complete reconciliation of all things in that rising.
One summer day I sat at the large wooden desks we used in the store as front counters. The fans twirled hypnotically. The sun bleared through the storefront windows, shined along the shelves of old books, faded as it passed over the scuffed black-and-green tile floor, and died before it reached me. I was in the cool shadows, removed, reading I don’t remember what. A large figure in black appeared before me. It was Johnny Cash. He said the perfect thing for Johnny Cash to say. This is what he said: “Son, where are your books on trains?”
4. Common Good PHX
After months of tossing ideas around and weeks of hammering out details, I’m excited to begin spreading the word about Common Good PHX, a two-day conference featuring Andy Crouch, who will be speaking on the topic of how Christians in Phoenix can contribute to the flourishing of our city. The event will be held April 12-13 at Christ Church Anglican, and will also include local breakout speakers. Learn more and register here.
[Photo credit: Lakewood Church, Houston via yelp.com]