Thursday, February 09, 2006

How Serious Is the Fire?

My son Luke shot this picture traveling down to spend Christmas with us. A car engulfed by fire along the road. This driver was definitely having a very bad day. But notice, the passenger door is open, meaning the driver and passenger have escaped. This is no little fire. It will destroy the car. And if the occupants did not get out, they would die. This is a fire that cannot be ignored or denied. It will take over and destroy the car.
I am finishing a book by Ron Luce on Youth Ministry, "Battle Cry for a Generation" that begins with the a story of a car on fire. Only this time there is a passenger trapped inside and the person telling the story does not give a moment's thought about what he had to do. He had to get the passenger out of the car...now! Or he would die.
Luce goes on to illustrate that it is with that sense of urgency that we need to conduct ourselves in ministry today. The car on fire is our culture, and it is consuming our youth. They are dying, literally and spiritually under the heat of consumerism, sexualization, pressures to succeed, and media saturation. It's not safe in the car anymore. The air is noxious, if not lethal in long exposure. I heard today from a colleague and unbelievable statistic, that at a major Fortune 500 company, way over 60% of its computer time is tracked to porn! Are you kidding? That can't be! That's impossible! That can't be! But she assured me that she heard it from a reliable source. That's a car on fire!
I am in the middle of being deeply disturbed reading George Barna's newest book "Revolution". Along with reading Rob Bell's "Velvet Elvis", Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz" , Reggie McNeal's "This Present Future", and Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat" I'm smelling smoke, and it's coming from the church and it's not a barbeque. Something is really wrong. Business as usual is not getting the job done. Keeping customers happy is not building the kingdom. The doors are open and people are bailing out.
Who's getting this? I'm not sure our larger church leadership is. It's certainly not reflected in the conversations and offerings at large gatherings. I do think Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt are some of the voices, along with the authors above, who are speaking to the problem, but do they ever get hammered by many in the church.
I don't want to bail out, but put out the fire and get back on the road.


At 2:12 PM , Blogger Lukester said...

i never saw that i took that shot... nice article by the way dad.


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