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SGtoDC: People are People so why should it be..

March 15, 2010

Great tune. Not a Depeche Mode fan? “People are People” was released on March 12, 1984. Some great lyrics.

People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

So we’re different colors
And we’re different creeds
And different people have different needs
It’s obvious you hate me
Though I’ve done nothing wrong
I never even met you
So what could I have done

I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

Help me understand

Now you’re punching and you’re kicking
And you’re shouting at me
I’m relying on your common decency
So far it hasn’t surfaced
But I’m sure it exists
It just takes a while to travel
From your head to your fist

I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man

Help me understand

Sounds about right doesn’t it? I come to the seventh and final way to make your church un-attractional and I have to tell you all of this works. Just recently we had a man show up running point for his family. If you have spent any time at all getting to know people who visit your church you will know what I am talking about.

Dad was checking everything out in the church search. He came one Sunday to kick the tires. People are so funny when they do this because they always have some reason why the rest of the family didn’t come. I guess telling a total stranger that you wanted to make sure it was worth the rest of the families time doesn’t sound too good.

So he came and must have liked what he saw because he brought the entire family the next Sunday. And we never saw them again. I guess while we proved safe we were not safe enough. Oh well, they wouldn’t be the first or last because people are people.

So what do churches typically do? They attempt to fill every gap, every missing area of perceived need, of ministry want, to insure that the second visit becomes a third, fourth, fifth, well I think you get the point.

What do churches end up doing? They end up creating homogeneous places where everyone looks the same and acts the same and has the same issues. They create places where everyone has 2.5 cars or kids or TV’s or whatever. They cobble together places that are the same because they were built to attract the same people. They attempt to fill the void of every tire kicker that has come around.

For me this last Sicilian choice is the greatest of them all. It is the idea that to be church you have to find out what the people need who stop in. I understand why it works because when people are looking for the same things they end up being the same kind of people. It cuts down on some of the nastiness related in the Depeche Mode song. Because they are the same kind of people they end up being people who are dealing with the same kind of problems like which college to attend or which location to go on spring break.

It makes thing easier and less likely to cause conflict. Everything works, or does it?

It that really even supposed to be the goal? Is that really what we should be concerned with at all? This Sicilian choice is so difficult because the right answer seems so obvious. Just like Less chance for conflict must be good. It is certainly easier. In the Princes Bride Vizzini chooses the cup in front of Westley for this very reason and yet Vizzini dies.

Have you ever thought about how different those first followers of Jesus were? Simon was a Zealot. This means that he thought the answer to Roman occupation was military action. He hated Roman occupation so much that he was willing to start a revolution. In fact this mindset led to the destruction of Jerusalem in the Great Jewish Revolt of 66 AD.

Can you imagine what sitting down for that first meal was like with Matthew the tax collector? The ultimate sellout to Roman rule. The very Jew that epitomized what a Zealot would hate? I wonder if they sat at the same table. Throw the other backgrounds and you have an interesting mix.

So the final way to make your church un-attractional, that’s easy.

I know I know, we all talk about it. We say it is important. We preach sermons about the woman at the well. We chastise the Pharisee’s and use them as our foil. We point a finger and wag all while we create churches of sameness were everyone has the same problems and hey can we keep those problems to a minimum.

Do we not see how self-centered this is? Do we not recognize that when we deal with people just like us it isn’t much different than just dealing with us? I know I know, we can sympathize and relate and sure I’m not saying everyone should be different or you should never hang out with people who are the same.

I will tell you that a great way to create something un-attractional is to have a large number of broken people that are hard to be around. People that you are different than. Have people with a lot of needs who have not had all of the advantages you have.

Make sure that the outcast feels at home and see what happens. Be a church for people not like you and see how many Christians want to come. How many other believers looking for a church want to attend then let me know how it feels to be a real attractive church because that really is what this series has been about. There goes that Sicilian choice again. We have really been talking about how to be attractive, just differently.

God bless and I pray you stay out of the Sicilian game.

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
” ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ”
Luke 14:15-24

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