I was driving home from my job the other day, and thoughts about “church” began a royal rumble in my head.
What if the church was less about a building and more about a community? What if a church community connected with different church communities in their city/street not to “save people” or “increase membership”. But to do good, help meet needs, and spankin’ love people.
A church community contacted every church on their road or within a 5-10 mile radius of their building. For example, here in FredVegas, there are five churches within a one mile radius of my job. Five spankin’ churches! (#welcometothebiblebelt.)
What if one of those churches instigated hope by stepping out of their cubicle if you will and contacted the other four churches to do a community service project?
What if, I’ll call the instigating church Lovescript, wanted to provide food and clothes for single parents. So Lovescript pitches the idea to the other four faith communities to get them involved to help.
Lovescript asks its own church community to donate clothes/toys/canned food to help with the event. The same thing is asked of the other faith communities as well.
That’s Nice, But…
You see Jermaine, all the other churches are each a different denomination. So this can’t possibly work. Plus, one of them is well, you know…
Well, why not? Why can’t a Baptist, Church of God in Christ, Islamic, Nazarene, and Lutheran church/mosque come together to help the community? Why can’t see each other as people and not as “them”?
What would happen? I bet it would create a stir in the town, I bet (and hope) it would trouble some waters and upset some people. Best to weed those folks out early to make room for people who want to serve/help people.
Oh No They Didn’t
The Lovescripters post on their Facebook/Twitter/Google +1/other networking site/ they are sponsoring a made up a name for the event, and put it out for the community.
They boldly indicate four other faith commuities are working with them to do this, even more boldly indicating they are all of different denominations. They ask if anyone wants to donate food/clothes/toys/money etc., to contact the Chief Caring Officer at Lovescript.
What if the newspaper or other traditional media hears of this and it gets put on blast over the airwaves and paperwaves? (paperwaves??)
What if the head of music at Lovescript contacts local bands: high school, college, etc. to come and perform?
What if people who will never step foot in a church or people so wounded or hurt by church they walked away, contacted the Chief Caring Officer of Lovescript because they want to help. And even more remarkable, the CCO tells them to come on down and bring whoever else wants to help.
What if, on the day of the event, you have an Imam and a Baptist preacher standing side by side handing out toys to a pregnant teenager, without criticism or judgment. Only love. Not for notoriety or false pretense. Only love.
Could This Really Happen?
What would this look like played out in real life? I don’t know. It would be remarkable, that’s for sure. Could pride and fear step aside as hope instigators take to the streets? Not to promote a religion or ideology, but to promote hope. Mixed with a heaping dose of love.
This is about being human. About loving God and loving people as we love ourselves. This is about holding on to what you believe, respecting what someone else believes, and going out in the world to help meet a need together.
This is a challenge for me as well to not get caught up in rhetoric or tradition and stay in my own bubble. To instead be a hope instigator and start loving people. To trouble the waters by making some noise with our actions, and silencing our words. People have heard all the words; what if actions were spoken instead?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
[photo by Larry and Laura]