Darryl Dash continues his Dying Church chronicle with The parable of the ice cream store which kicks off with an ominous scenario…
Imagine working at an ice cream store. One day you wake up and realize the importance of eating right. It’s not just a phase; it’s something you have to do. You’d face a bit of a crisis. Do you quit? Do you start serving healthier ice cream? Do you stop serving ice cream altogether and transform the ice cream store into something altogether different? Or do you rationalize that ice cream is okay as long as people are getting their nutrition elsewhere?
Ominous because of course it’s a metaphor. Ya gotta watch those, they suck you in and before you know it you start thinking, “Most of the goods and services of the church seemed about as likely to promote spiritual growth as ice cream is to promote good health.” And you don’t stop there…
Meanwhile, the church discontentment radar picked up another post titled I Think I Figured It Out! Which is encouraging, it’s always great to hear about someone’s eureka moments. Figured out what? The blogger says, “I’ve realized something about ‘church’: I’m not interested.” Then before you know it, he’s quoting Dan Kimball ‚ and that’s hardcore stuff.
I gather this is the kind of stuff Mike DeVries would understand… he’s thinking, “What about a book entitled Lies My Pastor Told Me or perhaps Lies My Church Told Me?”
If you’re wondering what’s going on, Barna talks about it in Revolution, which I really need to get my hands on… but Darryl talks about that on his Book Blog, saying, “For many of us, it’s not exactly news. If you fall in this category, this book might help you explain what’s happening to others.” That sounds about right. He continues with thoughts on Barna’s work, switching blogs back to the Dying Church chronicles, and Quitting the ice cream store…. which is of course the theme we started out with.
And I’ve decided I needed to add a category called “Churchless Faith” ‚ it was either that or “Disillusioned” I guess.
Update: In part three of the ice cream story, we have some people Staying at the ice cream store…
I would tend towards the “churchless faith” instead of “dissilusioned” simply because ultimately, it’s our pursuit of Jesus and the outworking of His kingdom that drives us — that’s why we’ve become dissilusioned, but dissilusioned is not our identity.
Even the term “churchless” is a little difficult for me. Not because I don’t “get” what we’re talking about, it’s just that we don’t cease to be the church just because we don’t attend an institutional one. (And where does that leave those who have somehow found a way to be in the system but not of the system?)
Is there another way to refer to ourselves that speaks more of what we are for than what we are against or dissilusioned by?
I need more coffee. I mis-spelt “dissillusioned” repeatedly. My bad..
Yeah, I think “churchless” is a bad name as well, but since “church” is a loaded word that means something now that isn’t what we think of as actually being the church, it’s at least understood. One nice thing about WordPress is that if I get sick of that title, I can globally change the category name to, I dunno, say, “NoMoreInstitutionalChurchPlease!”