On the drive from South Carolina to Guelph, Jamie and I read a book by Mark Driscoll called Confessions of a Reformission Rev. Well, Jamie mostly drove. And I mostly read.
It was a great book full of witty and sarcastic remarks as well as deep insights on how he (Mark Driscoll) started a church of 40 people which is now a church of over 4000.
I've included some quotes because some of them made me laugh out loud and some of them made me stop and reflect.
"The only way to have healthy community is to pursue God's mission of reaching lost people because community is an effect of mission, but not an effective mission."
Think about it. That one's a goodie.
"Leaders must frequently decide between offending Christ or a Christian, and Ghost-guided biblical conviction alone must determine the duties of church leaders. Otherwise, church leaders will waste their time washing dishes while their church sinks."
Another clever, yet oh-so-insightful comment.
"It is vital to name with brutal candor the people, programs, structures and ministry philosophies that are dogs needing to be shot. Be sure to make it count and shoot them only once so that they don't come back and bite you."
(the dogs he refers to are "the idiotic ideas, stinky styles, stupid systems, failed facilities, terrible technologies, loser leaders, and pathetic people". Don't ya just love people to give it to you straight?)
"Can you wield a sword and a trowel? In the days of Nehemiah, when the Israelites' mission was to rebuild the wall, Nehemiah had his people carry a trowel in one hand to build and a sword in the other to defend their work. As we build our churches in a culture no less hostile than that of Nehemiah, we too must learn how to both build a missional church and defend it from Satan, demons, and evildoers."
"The upstairs room at the fundamentalist church (where the first church he planted first met) was so hot that everyone was sweating like Mike Tyson in a spelling bee. During one service, a pregnant lady simply passed out and fell off her chair. This would not have been so traumatic if I were trying to plant one of those shake-and-bake, holy-roller churches where I smacked people on the nugget in Jesus' name so they could lie on the floor and twitch like a freshly caught trout on a dock and call it the work of the Holy Ghost."
Oh so classically brutal. I love it!
"Our rotating cast of worship leader tryouts ranged from screaming punk rockers - to this day, I have no idea why they were so dramatically depressed - to the kind of happy-clappy Christian praise musicians that you would expect to find playing on a karaoke machine at a Christian homeschool co-op reunion for kids whose moms made their clothes."
"In the end I realized that we labour with the exalted Christ, which gives us authority to proclaim the gospel of freedom. And we labour like the incarnated CHrist, which gives us humility and grace to creatively demonstrate and proclaim the love of Christ to fellow sinners in our culture."
"Jesus never sinned and, therefore, never repented, but because we sin, we must continually repent if we are to be faithful missionaries."
This one may be a bit long and slightly offensive to some but I think it rings of truth and irony so here goes:
"While visiting the various church services in proximity to our church, it struck me as curious that although all the congregations claimed to be Christian, they were clearly all on very different missions. One church was particularily confusing. They promoted homosexuality but made me take off my ball cap upon entering the church. It may seem odd that a male greeter who had likely had sex with a man before church chastised me for wearing a hat in church because I was disrespecting God.
The woman of this church, wearing a very nice, flowing, cutting-edge-of-1536 robe, talked about rainbows for twenty minutes while sixty or so very old people who were former classmates of Noah and eyewitnesses to the covenant rainbow sat scattered among one thousand seats or so and napped in Jesus' name. Between her sermonette, the written literature I picked up that told me how to bequeath my estate to the church when I die, and looking around the room at the equivalent of a Viagara before-photo of lifeless geriatrics, I truly could not discern why that church existed.
Down the street, another woman pastor and her gay male associate pastor with a lovely rainbow on his elegantly sassy robe both spoke passionately about the need to get rid of our nuclear weapons. Their message did not connect with me because I did not have any nuclear weapons. So I left early."
"I am intense biblical literalist who believes that the man is the head of the home, that the man should provide for his family, that children are a blessing, and that we would not have so many deceived feminists running around if men were better husbands and fathers because the natural reaction of godly women to godly men is trust and respect. For some, this theological instruction was as popular as a fart in an elevator, and they left our church."
"Many Christians wrongly think that hospitality is the welcoming of fellow Christians into their home and church for friendship. But that is fellowship. Hospitality is when Christians welcome strangers especially non-Christians, into their homes, lives and church."
Ok, so this was a mother-long post, but it was a good book - very challenging - and I would recommend it.