Do we have a prayer?
Every now and then in Church circles, people may hear the words “The Grace” used. Now “The Grace” may refer to one of a few different options:
- A prayer that people say before eating food. The length of this prayer varies depending on how thankful they are, and how much longer they can wait before eating.
- That hot lass down the road.
- The part of the service where people stand and look around smiling at each while saying the following prayer based on 2 Corinthians Chapter 13
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us all,
now and evermore.
No its (probably) not written down anywhere …
We’re getting our heads around a new series of posts in which we try and cast some light over some of the stuff we do in Church.
The first random Church thing we’ll probably try and fail at explaining will be “The Grace”, and will probably be written in the style of our Church Sofa Lists.
Can you think of any random Church thing for us to look at?
This post is going to be a mess, but hopefully in a good way. Hopefully you’ll see why. Hopefully I’m not about to kill the Big Bible readership in one foul swoop.
I was going to write about my day…
You see, I’m not a morning person. Yet somehow between when I stumble bleary eyed out of bed, and putting one foot in front of the other as I walk out the door, I have already checked Twitter.
I get on the bus, and if I remember, I try and read a Bible chapter on the iPhone. While a friend of mine across the city uses his YouVersion Android app to run through a Bible Reading Plan. While this is going on, other people receive teaching from famous voices on podcasts, have personal worship times thanks to the MP3s on their headphones, and can connect with other like minded Christians via Twitter.
Every couple of weeks, a friend and I meet up after work. Have a beer, share in each others lives, and work though the Bible. Obviously not by using a book… but by using our smart phones.
I was going to share my worries that maybe we’re making it too easy for people to feel they didn’t need to go to Church. I was going to ponder if online communities like Twitter, ease of access to worship tunes, and ability to watch sermons online were giving people the chance to have their church on tap.
But maybe I was being too harsh? I was going to post something like the above, but then a @bigdaddywhale posted the below on Twitter:
I belong to many expressions of church. My favourite right now is Twitter. Thank you my family.
If that left me thinking, what he followed up with was almost like a slap around the face:
This is my #Digichurch this is where I heal my hurts
Many expressions of Church… Twitter. The Pub. Google Hangouts. Sunday Mornings. An Online Service.
The end of Acts Chapter 2, tells of the early Church meeting in each others homes, sharing in each others lives. Are we simply just doing the same thing in our digital lives? Just on Twitter accounts, blogs, and Google Plus pages?
If we are living lives in a digital space, do we need to have a rethink about what it means to be Church?
So I’m sorry.
That was all a bit messy. But isn’t that what it’s like to be in a church any way?
- ”This is My Church, This is where I heal my hurts” – Taken from the Faithless tune: “God is a DJ“
Welcome to this weeks roundup:
- The BBC covers the Church with an atheist clergy (???????)
- Richard Littledale has been sign spotting in France.
- Kid Charlemagne reacts to JesusNeedsNewPR feeling the need not to be “that guy”…
- Oli starts a journey though the Bible.
- Jon Butler ponders if less is more?
- The Vernacular Curate is feeling a little tired…
- … and finally… in the spirit of #retrogames tag on Twitter… Infinite Mario shows what HTML5 can do with a classic computer game.
I thought I might write a bit about sofas and teenagers, so here’s my submission (I’ve also attached it as a separate document):
Not to brag, but my church has three sofas, a load of comfy chairs and a pile of bean bags. And they are good, soft, squishy sofas. I know a few people, myself included, who have had naps on them. When someone announces they’re going to have a lone, quiet prayer-session in the lounge, you know what they really mean.
I’ve run quite a few youth socials in that lounge, from film evenings to a sit down meal with communion. We can pull the sofas around to make a sort of home cinema, or arrange them around coffee tables for a cafe feel. They help to make a really welcoming and relaxing environment and quite often visiting teens will comment on the swanky set up we have.
These sofas, however, aren’t as great as they seem. The first time I visited the church, one of the teens fell off the back of one. Last Friday, one of my youth found a crème egg that was probably lost at Easter nestled between the cushions. I dropped something down the back and, going to reach it, my hand emerged covered in fluff and youth-snack debris. But my concerns over our church sofas goes further than this.
Feeling the youth program needed a bit of a shake-up, I told the teens that we were looking at doing a few things differently. One of the panicked teens asked, “We’re going to keep meeting here? I love this place.” At first I was touched. I thought to myself, “we’ve created a really positive environment, where teens just love to hang out, relax and discover who Jesus is.” But this comment has begun to worry me. What if the teenagers only come for the sofas? What if they don’t want to follow Jesus, and they’re only interested in the squishy cushions? Is the identity of my youth ministry about living life to the full, with God at the centre, or is it built around the room we meet in?
My worry is that the swanky set up only feeds in to the consumerist mind set prevalent in society today. We are simply there to provide a comfortable place where people can chat and relax. The teens just come, eat, play games and go. This isn’t fulfilling Jesus’ commission to us; Jesus did not ask us to “go, buy well upholstered furniture and scatter pillows,” but rather to go and make disciples, baptise them, teach them to obey. The teens just see the lounge as a place where their needs are catered for and any suggestion that they take the initiative and try to put Biblical living into practice go largely ignored.
So, in a way, I miss pews: I have a theory that most missionaries went on their travels to avoid sitting on them another week. I love the fact that our church lounge is welcoming and a fantastic place to show hospitality and inclusivity, but are we just breeding a generation of teens who can’t be bothered to live out their faith and get up off the sofa?
I really hope not.
Would you like to write a guest blog for the Church Sofa? Please check out the Church Sofa Lounge.
Stuck making flower arrangements, when you dont know your rose from your thorn? Trapped making after Church refreshments, when you dont know your tea from your coffee? Maybe you need our top five ways to escape a Church Rota???
- Sign someone else up for the rota. It’s ok… The rota organiser will break the news to them.
- Make a Ganger…
- Consider creating a swap chain. This is when you swap your shift for a shift in the future. You then swap that future shift for a shift in the further future. You then swap the further future shift for a shift even further way…
- Make really very awfully bad coffee (obviously this one won’t work for the flower rota)
- Put photos of yourself on Facebook showing how you are suffering from a rare genetic rash (with thanks to a felt tip pen). Once done phone up the rota organiser – gasp and whisper down the phone as you try and explain you can’t help this week – and evidence of your ill health happens to also be on Facebook…