Friday, November 26, 2010

Birds of a Feather

“Birds of a feather flock together.”  A proverb based in observation.  It’s true.  If you drive across South Park in central Colorado, you may see a herd of cattle, a herd of buffalo and a herd of pronghorn antelope.  But you will rarely see them intermingling.  The different species are not enemies, they’re just different.  They just like to be with their own kind. 

People do the same thing.  We tend to gravitate toward those who resemble us – similar economic status, common age demographic, same skin tone.  We even “herd” with people who like the same stuff we do – baseball, or country music, or the opera.  Even our churches seem to follow this maxim.  We can “flock together” with similar personalities and style preferences.  “I prefer to worship with others who are as expressive as I am,” or, "I like to be with people who see how important traditions are."  

But what if the church is supposed to be different?  What if what hold us together really is stronger than what keeps us apart?  Or, what if our ‘feathers’ were the marks of our common salvation in Christ?  Could we maybe become a different kind of bird altogether?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have it Your Way

We are Americans.  Don’t tell us we can’t ‘have it our way.’  We can drive through the fast food place and in mere minutes not only have a meal in our car, but we can specify exactly what we do and don’t want on that burger.  I can get grilled onions, or no onions, or vanilla syrup in my Coke.  

We assume this is our right as Americans – the right to unlimited choices, the right to go somewhere else if we didn’t get exactly what we came for.  We are offended if someone suggests that this is a mere convenience.  We assume this right in most areas of our life – the restaurants we choose, the movies we watch, even the churches we attend.  We can select a local church based solely on whether or not we like the music.  

We’re Americans.  Don’t tell us we can’t have it our way.

But what if the Church is supposed to be different?  What if when Paul instructed us to ‘prefer one another,’ or ‘outdo one another in showing honor’—what if he meant that I need to lay aside some of my own desires, and actually help you achieve some of yours?  

What if I applied this idea to our church family’s worship gatherings?  What if ‘preferring one another’ means that I stop insisting on getting my own worship service, with my own musical style preference?  

Is it possible that I would experience something much better than a drive-through burger with grilled onions?