Right now I am at the Northwest Ministry Conference (#nwmc2011) in Redmond, WA. Here are some thoughts:
-World Vision is freaking awesome. They have a station to build backpacks for kids in Africa with common supplies that they need. Yeah… we need to work on the whole “getting everyone in the world access to clean water” thing as well… but I think World Vision has their hands in that as well. This is what Jesus was about. Helping the poor. Clothing those who don’t have clothes. Even if right now it feels overwhelming, at least they are doing something.
-I hate how much politics is dragged into the church. Actually… the gospel was pretty political (different story). Apparently our job as Christians is to “1) Destroy the theory of evolution and 2) Go on a Jihad against Homosexuals.”
-I think the people that “get it” the most are the ones that are talking about social networking and the church. They know what is going to reach the generations that are coming up. Oh yeah, they even mention the faults with their methods. I feel like they are the most genuine.
-“We need to stop working on social justice and just evangelize the gospel.” This was an actual quote I heard from a class teacher. Good God… How do people not realize that the Gospel was all about social justice, loving others, and having people see we are changed through Christ because of our ACTIONS.
-Creationism booth… words fail me with this one. You can’t just dismiss major scientific theory. I’m sorry, evolution happens. The evidence for human evolution is overwhelming. It doesn’t discredit the bible if you are viewing things with appropriate context. Biblical literalism is on it’s way out the door and people are clinging to it for dear life. My faith has not been made less by viewing this objectively.
-I am a little shocked at the number of people that will simply agree with whatever the speaker says, just because the speaker is saying it. We need to be thinking critically and not blindly accepting everything that is fed to us.
-Christian consumerism is (sadly) alive and well. There is everything from “Christian illusionist ministry products” (that wrongly display the trinity, in the form of modalism) to “Homosexuality reform products” (that may be a slight exaggeration…). Oh… my favorite one was all of the booths where you could donate to Israel. What about Palestine?
-There were no classes exploring the emerging church or more liberal theological ideas. Why not? Even if some people won’t agree with the ideas does that make them any less important?
-There was a class on patriotism. I don’t remember anything in the bible about American’s having the monopoly on Jesus. Or even anything supporting Patriotism.
-The number of christian fish and bumper sticker’s was sickening.
-The coffee stand was alive and kicking… youth pastors need their venti-quad-americanos. 🙂
-I noticed a lack of recycling bins and compost bins (usually virtually everywhere around seattle). Sad.
Basically… I think the state of (some) Christian churches is sickening. I thought we were getting better at embracing Christ’s commands to love God and love others. I am hoping that the tighter that people try and hold on to fundamentalism, the more it will slip through their fingers. Love will overcome hate.
Love wins. (Get it? That was a Rob Bell reference….)