ASBO Jesus frequently hits interesting nails on the head with cartoons such as this morning’s. I've been reading Bill Bishop’s book The Big Sort: How the clustering of like-minded America is tearing us apart. This shows the devastating effect on social cohesion of gated communities in many areas of American life. But this is not just a sociological problem; it’s a missional issue. What hapens when we do Church like this?
Well, I suppose, we are saying that we believe we can only do our Christianity with real people if we get the option to pick the kinds of people they are. And that doesn’t include all the people whose homes we drive by on our way to Church.
Drive-In Church seems ludicrous, but this is Drive-by Church. We proclaim the reconciliation of heaven and earth by the power that raised Jesus from the dead working in us, but then hedge that process about with an insistence that we get a veto over who’s on the bus. If we believe we need to be like this, we’ve pretty much made it happen anyway. Doesn’t make it true, though. Thank God he doesn’t take that attitude.
And however convenient it is for birds of a feather to fly together, consider the missional credibility issue this attitude and behaviour raises:
“God is putting together a new reconciled humanity in Christ, and you could wake up and embrace your part in this glorious process. Come and join us!”
“How do I do that?”
“By ignoring and excluding at least 6 out of the following groups of people: the old, the unsexy, the Radical, the emotionally needy, people without cars, the sexy, the poor, the young, Classical Music wonks, the rich, the over-excitable, the Conservative, Rock music wonks, the married, the divorced, the people with buggies, the people without buggies, the people who like/ don’t like the Vicar, people with big houses, people with small houses...”
And people on the street, many of them looking for ways out of their own ghettoes, may be illiterate about religion, but they’re not all idiots, and most of them can spot this one for a pup from a mile off...
Or have I missed something?