My personal Jedi Master, Dave, tends to blog about "what he should have said" after a weekend message. I thought I'd try that in reverse this week. I'm kicking off a new teaching series this weekend at VCC entitled "In God We Trust - how the church responds in a tough economy." This isn't what we planned on speaking about this month. However, sometimes certain issues arise in a culture that cannot be ignored by the church. A few weeks back I wrote a paragraph to narrow my thoughts for this week:
WEEK ONE: THE MISSION ISN'T IN RECESSION: The church is on a mission from God – to proclaim the reality and availability of the Kingdom of the Heavens, to love those far from God so much that they may consider his love for themselves, to freely and radically give away all that we have for the sake of Christ and Kingdom. The church cannot afford to take the two easy options in our current economic condition: 1.) To ignore the bad economy and preach naïve prosperity or 2.) To acknowledge the problem and cowardly shrink away from the mission. This is the time that the world needs the church to be the church - to stand up, offering hope in practical and impractical ways. This means that we as individuals should align ourselves with Kingdom economic practices and fully trust God to provide for his people.
That's about all I have so far. I've been reading a lot of early church teachings on economic issues - the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermes, Augustine, etc. I've been wrestling with Jesus' call to radical economics in the gospels. I've also noticed that Acts, James and Revelation all take Jesus' teachings in subtly different directions. This stuff isn't new for me to think about. I was profoundly influenced long ago by Stanley Hauerwas and John Howard Yoder in regard to my Kingdom economics. I've been re-reading their stuff and enjoying the current essays at www.ekklesiaproject.org. (A highly recommended site/cyber community btw.)
So, this week feel free to wrestle along with me. How would you use 30 minutes to broach this subject with thousands of people ranging from raging skeptics to seasoned saints? What big issue stirs in your heart when you think about these things? What Bible stories or truths come to your mind? Do we need a call to courage or a call to understanding or both? Comment away and maybe we can figure this one out together this week...